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This post might be long. I apologize, but please read on as I need some help here. Thanks for your time.

I am a 29 year old male in an exclusive long term relationship with my live-in girlfriend of 8 years. We met in college, and from the very first moment, *both* of us felt a special chemistry never experienced before in our lives. This relationship quickly and easily redefined the concept of love to me. We had discovered true, actual love...wow, it really does exist!

A number of years later, I was unexpectedly laid off, along with 95% of my team. I fell into a severe depression and found myself with nothing and no one in my life--except for my girlfriend. It wasn't easy for her to be my rock, but I'm eternally grateful to her for being by me during a very, very dark time.

While improvement was gradual, I managed to get to a point of stability again. I found work and restored balance not only to my relationship but also my own emotions and aspirations.

In December of 2008, she called me from overseas (business trip) and, out of nowhere, says that she can't do this anymore. Leading up to that trip, everything had seemed just fine; we were certainly a fun, loving couple.

This shattered my heart, and coming home everyday to an empty place for a whole month only facilitated a prolonged period of sadness, confusion, and loss of direction. She explained to me that she had doubts about the security of our future...that if things went south at any given moment (such as illness, unemployment, finances, etc), that I wouldn't be able to lead the charge in finding a solution. She summarized this concept through the words, "I don't trust you."

I spent the better part of a week begging, pleading, apologizing, and promising over international calls; I was asking for another chance although I didn't fully grasp how I "created" this problem. What was I supposed to do? Argue that she was wrong? I don't think that would have led to the second chance that I ultimately received (through her realization of her own error-filled logic and heartlessness).

The solution consisted of many promises of improvement, most notably involving me being her rock. It was now my turn to endure and deflect the stresses of life as she had done for me when I was lost. I was also to shed my deep insecurities, lingering bouts of depression, and personality elements that she didn't like. I did ALL of this. When I say "did," I mean...200%. Things stabilized for quite some time.

A couple of months ago, I found myself feeling compromised in my quality of life. This was stealing my joy and influencing my ability to be a strong rock for the both of us. I felt like crap, so I became determined to fix myself once and for all.

I started a strict exercise and nutrition regiment. I cleaned out our home and finally introduced a long absent sense of harmony in our environment. I began learning to new skills that complemented my career path and stimulated my brain. My intent was to heal my body, mind, and spirit from the inside-out...as well as the outside-in.

For some time though, she started to show signs of depression. She wasn't sleeping or eating well, became distant, and honestly...became a serious *****. About a month ago, this, again, led to her statement of, "I don't think I can do this anymore."

The stated problem was that she just wasn't happy in her life anymore. The spark of general enthusiasm was gone, her energy levels were non-existent, stress was constant, and sleep became increasingly elusive.

She succinctly identified all this as my fault. She couldn't explain why, but continued to stand by that notion...that I was pretty much a cancer. Part of her reasoning was that if I was*truly* her rock, she wouldn't be feeling like this. She almost convinced me that I was indeed just a pair of shackles. Whether or not I believed this, I inevitably started feeling that way...lowly and guilt ridden. This confused me (and still does) because I had done everything in my power to be the best partner possible. I kept every single promise, followed through on everything I said I'd do, and went out of my way, completely and obviously, to make life comfortable for her. She knows that I love her, I always let her know, whether through words or actions. To this day, she has not kept one single promise to me.

It took about 8 hours of talking to reach a point of her "giving me another chance."

But, still, her telltale signs of depression are as obvious as ever. I've pleaded with her to try a therapist--that I believe her to be clinically depressed, and this would annoy her. It was like I was trying to pass the blame onto some medical condition when I should just be directing that onto myself instead. She went a few times, then just stopped. She did get some insight during those sessions, and the topic of couple's counseling was brought up by her therapist.

She came home and mentioned it, almost in such a way to emphasize that I was the problem needing fixing. Of course, I was all for it; I passionately and enthusiastically said YES. I was curious as to what the therapist would say after knowing all that I have written here.

She was a bit surprised by my desire for counseling and has never mentioned it again. Even when I inquired about it, she would just kind of shrug it off, and the topic would disappear into thin air.

Am I tired?...I mean, sick and effing tired of living like this? Yes, of course. Do I love her? Absolutely. As much as I ever have. I don't love this ugliness she presently exhibits, and it's so uncharacteristic of her. That's why I believe in a solution as opposed to a parting of ways.

So, plain and simple, I don't know what to do anymore. I've tried communicating with her...I'm the communicator in this relationship. She just refuses to do it. She only "communicates" through yelling and blaming.

A while back, we agreed to police ourselves, to never yell, to be mindful of our tone and volume, and to respect each other. I've been near flawless at this for something like 3 years now. She lasts a couples weeks at a time before defaulting back to that behavior, and she, again, "blames" me by calling it "your method of communicating." This concept enables her to classify (and justify) her bad behavior as "her method of communicating." And, just like that, she's created validity in her use of fighting gestures (in her own mind) thanks to this crazy application of individual diversity. This also opens the door to her calling me *controlling* of all things...because I'm emphasizing how important it is to use "my" method of communicating. Mind you, she repeatedly promises to me that she'll work on her temper, patience, and bully-like behavior. But, when things get heated, she flat out says, "I don't want to try, I don't want to listen, and I don't want to talk. Eff you, I'm done."

I can applaud an effort with a failed result, really, I can. But this...this isn't even trying, let alone fulfilling a promise. It's more like a slap in the face.

She's very quick to dismiss me on so many different levels. She says I don't understand. I disagree. I've identified all that I'm at fault for and have addressed those items to her acknowledgment. She has not. Literally not a single thing. And, I get the depression part. I myself was depressed since the age of 13, endured 10+ years of intense beatings from my parents, developed anorexia from my depression, and attempted suicide at the age of 18. In the end, I beat it. So don't tell me that I don't get it.

The curious thing about all this is that infidelity is not a factor here. I'm not her, so I don't know 100%, but I'm at least 99.99999231% sure there's nothing going on. Nor does this seem like a matter of other people feeding garbage into her head. It's important that I acknowledge those things so I can rule them out and have even more confidence in the belief that she is indeed depressed, that this depression is destroying her, destroying our relationship.

These days, my only request to her is to just be nice. That's all. She has trouble even doing this. Believe me, I'm a thinker...if I've done something wrong, I'll be the first to admit it...doesn't matter if it's her or myself that identifies a shortcoming. Humility is a blessing and it enables me to be better today than I was yesterday. I can truly say that I get attacked for no fault of my own. Part of me believes that she allows this kind of unacceptable behavior because she sees it as retribution for those tough times we went through in the past...that, in a way, I deserve it. It doesn't matter that it's years in the past, that my only fault was weakness through depression, nor that I've overcome these issues and become 10 times the person I was then.

My theory is that none of my efforts matter because they only serve to improve our relationship. They do little to nothing for her depression. If depression is the culprit, nothing will ever get better until the depression itself is treated. Until that day, I will remain as the scapegoat for all the compromised emotions she feels.

She says that she wants to be in love again, as it was when we first got together. Right now, she doesn't feel love, doesn't feel anything except stress. This is a huge red flag for depression in my opinion, and I just wish she'd see it.

So, what can I do? I'm tired of living like this, walking on eggshells, stripping certain words out of my vocabulary (such as "fair/unfair," "I'm trying," and "promise" to name a few), and just feeling sad all the time.

Why don't I just walk away?

We've been together for longer than some people are married. Our families are acquainted, and we've both developed relationships with each others parents and siblings. We share a home together. What's mine is her's and vice versa. It's long been as if we're already married. And, this behavior is something I haven't seen in her before...this is NOT her. And lastly, of course, because I truly love her. Deeply.

That's why I can't walk away.

I'm desperate for the help of this community. I've never done anything like this before, so I hope you all can understand how broken I must be to have come to this point. Is there anyone else out there who's experienced something similar? Or, have any of you gone to couples counseling while one was suffering from depression? I hope and pray that I may find some answers here.

Lastly, I apologize again for the sheer length of this post. If you've made it this far, I wholeheartedly thank you for caring enough to do so.

- b2000
 

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I spent the better part of a week begging, pleading, apologizing, and promising over international calls; I was asking for another chance although I didn't fully grasp how I "created" this problem. What was I supposed to do? Argue that she was wrong? I don't think that would have led to the second chance that I ultimately received (through her realization of her own error-filled logic and heartlessness).
the problem with your approach is you are playing with her. you are apologizing with words, but your heart is far from it. behind her back you are thinking this is not your fault. that's a bad way to live- as you can tell by the results. if you dont think you are at fault then dont say you are. that's called lying. she will see right through it, even if logically she cant put it into words she knows you are not really sorry.

She summarized this concept through the words, "I don't trust you."
i think this is a strange thing to say to someone that was depressed. it sounds like there's a lot more to the story.

Of course, I was all for it; I passionately and enthusiastically said YES. I was curious as to what the therapist would say after knowing all that I have written here.

She was a bit surprised by my desire for counseling and has never mentioned it again. Even when I inquired about it, she would just kind of shrug it off, and the topic would disappear into thin air.
why didnt you call the counselor to set up the appointment? You waited around for her to do it. If you were so excited by the idea, why didnt you call? I think she would have been more excited if you had of enthusiastically done something about it. words are a dime a dozen.

And, I get the depression part. I myself was depressed since the age of 13, endured 10+ years of intense beatings from my parents, developed anorexia from my depression, and attempted suicide at the age of 18. In the end, I beat it. So don't tell me that I don't get it.
You do get it- you get your depression. you dont get hers. stop comparing your feelings with hers.

Part of me believes that she allows this kind of unacceptable behavior because she sees it as retribution for those tough times we went through in the past...that, in a way, I deserve it. It doesn't matter that it's years in the past, that my only fault was weakness through depression, nor that I've overcome these issues and become 10 times the person I was then.
Just because you think it should be over, doesnt mean it should be. its over for you, but its not over for her. dont dissuade what she is feeling. allow her to feel what she is feeling. if you really were ten times the person you were then, she wouldnt still be angry. you're not getting the whole being accountable for your actions part of this. You dont get to say how and when she heals. she does.

im not saying she doesnt need to work on herself, too. of course she does. and if she were here writing i would tell her what she needs to do. but she's not, and you are. so there's no sense in me saying what she needs to do. i think she has a part in this that she's accountable for. of course. but since you are the one here, i think its more productive to say what i think your part in this is.

and that part is to work on letting your partner find her own time to heal, and in her own way. but be a person you can be proud of. you know i used to have the worst temper- and i mean bad. it used to threaten my H and he would get defensive. but once when i got angry he looked me right in the eye and told me how sorry he was for what i was going through. i didnt show him at the time because i was still pretty defensive, but a part of me melted. he does that every single time i get upset. i dont really get upset anymore.

again, im not saying this is entirely your obligation to fix. i have done extensive work on myself, too. i go to counseling, read books, etc. but i can tell my H is really sorry. that makes all the difference in the world.
 

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I'm sorry for all these struggles. I see quite a few dynamics being played out here and really feel counseling is your best option. Insist on it, as if this is depression she's going through, it's only going to get worse without some sort of intervention.
 

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Thank you for your responses, they made me think, think again, and then think some more. I welcome whatever advice that can help me to address some of the things under my control.

Blanca, most of what you said made a lot of sense to me.

You're right, I shouldn't have apologized for things that I weren't at fault for. The main reason was that I didn't want to overload her stress levels during our talks which would inevitably cause an immediate parting of ways. I was afraid that the heated emotions would be enough for her to just hang up and cut off communication.

But, in the end, honesty is the best policy. In a world of endless permutations for just about everything, surely there must have been a way to speak the truth in an effective manner. I will remember this and live it from this day forth.

As for the counselor...well, that was my fault, and a stupid one at that. My reason was that I had recently lost my health insurance coverage, while she has pretty much the best coverage one can get in this country. Money was an issue at that time, so to fork out $700 a month for therapy would've been compromising to say the least. Another dumb assessment of mine; I take full ownership of that.

Before writing the original post, I contacted a good relationship therapist nearby and setup and appointment. At least it happened, although later than it should've been. Blanca, you're totally right, because there's no way I can put a price tag on our relationship.

Just to clarify, I never ever criticize her feelings or depressed state, nor do I impose any terms to her recovery. Despite feeling victimized from its resulting behaviors on occasion, I've always made it abundantly clear that I'm here to support her through these difficult times. I don't think her depression should just be over, that's a ridiculous notion.

I don't feel that I'm the cause of her depression, the reason why it exists. To blame one's depression on another person just doesn't seem right (except for certain situations like abuse, etc). Therefore, not actually being 10 times or even 100 times who I used to be in the past really has no bearing on why she's clinically depressed. She does recognize that I'm here to love and support her--it's just that she isn't "absorbing" the support, it isn't cracking through her exterior, to put it in her words. And it isn't that she's been angry for several years...more like "deflated" in increments of months.

Now, having said all that, I do acknowledge that my wholehearted efforts have not yielded results. This is something I can contemplate and take accountability for. What I'm taking from your words is that I need to expand my scope of accountability, embrace her own journey through this process, and reaffirm to her that we remain on the same team--not opposing ones.

Your description of how your H handled difficult situations was very interesting for me. I have fears that she'll just not believe me or have a very negative attitude towards this...but as you said, not even you showed it--but, inside, these words did resonate with you. I trust in your advice; I'll give it a shot.

I'm worried, but optimistic too. I worry that her current state has clouded her ability to comprehend the genuine feelings in my heart. This includes when I'm indeed truly sorry, when I'm genuinely reaching out to her, or when I console her. I fear that she remains emotionally indifferent during these times, and as a result, ruling me out as any kind of supportive companion. Her behavior and words have previously confirmed this.

However, optimism is crucial, I understand that. I've learned a few things here, set other things into motion, and hopefully this can help us with the next baby step.

Blanca and HappyHer, thank you so much for your advice. HappyHer, I'm glad to say that I've already made the appointment, and I appreciate the depth of thought behind your suggestion. I'll need to report back when we begin counseling.

You guys gave me a little hope today, thanks for that.
 

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The main reason was that I didn't want to overload her stress levels during our talks which would inevitably cause an immediate parting of ways. I was afraid that the heated emotions would be enough for her to just hang up and cut off communication.

I fear that she remains emotionally indifferent during these times, and as a result, ruling me out as any kind of supportive companion. Her behavior and words have previously confirmed this.
I read a great book called Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Cloud and Townsend. In the book they talk about how different fears drive our communication and our action. they also teach you how to let go of your fears and communicate in a way that is honest with how you feel, and independent of how your spouse might react. It was really helpful for my H and I. there's a workbook that comes with the book that i highly recommend doing while reading the book. My H and I read a chapter and then wrote each other's answers in the workbook. it was a very constructive way to communicate how we felt, but take accountability for ourselves.
 

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Great, thank you for the recommendation. I will definitely check it out, sounds just like what I need.
 

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Thank you for your kind words fabiola. I'm trying to remain strong these days, and I did indeed check out that book, Boundaries in Marriage...what a great book. Seriously.

I particularly like the Christian angles it gives from time to time, as I identify with these words. And, it's not simply a blind following of what's stated in the Bible, but rather it makes sense of these excerpts from quite a social and psychoanalytical perspective. Thank you again Blanca for the great recommendation.

Over the past week, I've learned the truer meaning of accountability, and that I have much to claim despite my frequent feelings of being victimized. I've learned to stand better on my two feet and feel good and honest about it.

Still, problems persist in our relationship, but not through arguments and such. I feel a growing distance, and she seems to not notice this happening. For example, she did not come home last night. In fact, she still isn't home, and this pains me because, she did this only 5 days ago. We talked about it--that I don't have a problem with her hanging out with friends, and only to let me know if she'll be late so I don't have to worry.

This was well accepted by her, and we came together without having an argument, let alone any negative feelings at all. I attribute this to learning new communication methods from the book.

However, when she didn't come home again last night and failed to let me know...it didn't leave me feeling upset...rather, a little hurt. I mean, all she has to do is send me a text message, and that alone would be a very meaningful gesture. But, in the end, I retain ownership of my own feelings, and God knows that I don't want to feel hurt, sad, angry, etc. I am empowered to control my own emotions and reactions, and this makes me very happy.

But, I'd still like for us to get to a point of mutual effort. Perhaps not the same in magnitude...just knowing that there is effort at all on her end would give me much peace of mind.

I just tried calling her now because if there's one thing I know about her, it's that she doesn't compromise her work. She'd need to come home and get ready before going to the office...so for this to not have happened worries me--as if something did go wrong, such as an accident, etc.

She didn't answer my call, but I got a text immediately after simply stating, "I'm safe. Be home later."

SIGH

I'm still working on the couples counseling...
I've been in communication with the therapist, and we've discussed a few potential dates to meet. Yet, this process is being prolonged because my GF just won't fill out the forms required from the therapist. Hopefully, today will yield different results.

Things are slowly stabilizing, but that's mostly internal for me. Yet, I've come to realize the crucial importance of that, and I thank you all for the support that ultimately led me to this state of awareness.

Hopefully, some improvements will begin to surface in terms of the relationship soon.
 

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I see a few dynamics and made a few conclusions for you to think about: first of all I think it's awesome you are hard core into this mind and body revolution... but, because of where your gf is emotionally... your efforts are a constant amplifier and its easy to get annoyed when someone else is "winning" essentially, no matter how much we love them. Shes not in a state of mind to be able to commend or find your efforts as attractive as she would if her spirit was in a happy position. Try continuing your personal journey but try toning it down as best you can so she has some time to collect herself and have clarity in her own goals.... make sense?
Second... your conversations sound like they are getting stagnet because she is used to you being the cheerleader/communicator and probably could predict whats going to come out of your mouth before theyre said so try to jot down a list of common phrases u use during these "talks" and come up with a game plan to bring some new phrases and encouragement into the game. Hopefully that will jolt her attention.
Last... CHILL out honey!! youre an intellectual so I bet your wheels dont stop turning but that kind of level of relationship analyzation can make your partner feel like theyre under a microscope 24/7... I really think she would benefit from a little space and some new words/support from you. Let her know u r there but then backup... you were depressed so I am sure you remember that feeling of desparity like being in a hole you cant climb out of... its horrible! U feel shame so u want alone time...
Back up for a bit and still court her when u know her mood is improving by being simple, fun and comical. The less you talk about the issues at hand the better.... they only knock her down more. I hope she comes around and I also highly suggest counseling... =) wish u both the best
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We just went to therapy today. She lied in therapy saying she's been trying so hard, and the therapist wouldn't let me respond to that.

Then she told me, after the session was over, that she's using therapy as a means to her end...all she has to do is repeatedly say that she doesn't want to work on this relationship anymore, and eventually, the therapist would have no choice but to recommend separation. Yet, she still calls her participation in therapy as "trying" in this relationship.

She left. She said she won't be coming back tonight. Again.

All is lost.

Thank you all for listening to me. You are all I have.
 

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b2000, I'm sorry she doesn't seem interested in continuing the relationship with you. Next time, go to the therapist alone and talk with her/him about what you just told us. It might be time to start exploring your own options instead of trying to make it work with her when she's not even willing to be honest.
 
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