G’day Dr Love.I have been with my boyfriend since the day we started going out and that was over a year ago. I am separated for 2 years now and have 2 daughters (6 & 2). My ex husband and I are sharing custody (one week off). My boyfriend adore my kids.About a year ago, he was engaged in a fight that happened at work and it was pretty obvious that it was a set-up which made him lost his job. To cut story short, because of that he is suffering from depression and lost self confidence. He is seeing someone about it and taking medication to help him handle anxiety. He finds it difficult to sleep and therefore he takes something to help him on that as well.With all of these happening, we seems to fight more often and to be honest with you, I always start the argument. I feel I am not happy with him but I can’t bear the thought of losing him. We both know that we love each other and thats what keeping us together.He mentioned to me few times that he is considering of going to the countryside and start a new life but he wants me to go with him. He knew for a fact that I can’t do that because of my kids. Sometimes I think if its better for us to just go separate ways because I know he wouldn’t be happy living in the city.I tried to understand what he’s going through but for how long? My friends advised me that I have to think about myself too and esp my kids.It also affected our sex lives where I feel that I have to ask for it at most times. Talked about it to him and he blames the medication he’s taking. If he feels being depressed he goes inside the bedroom and spend hours fiddling with his computer.I told him about what I think and his behaviour. He said he is aware of it but he just can’t help himself. When the kids are around he does the same thing his reason is so I could spend time with the kids ‘quality time’. I told him I would like him to be part of it.Is it selfish to think where my life is heading with him? Because sometimes I feel like I don’t have any future with this person I’m living with.Please advice.
I can see why you feel hopeless about your future. So does your husband.The fact is, he is stuck in a major, big butt rut. Because he isn’t moving forward, and healing, the marriage is stagnating to the point of destruction. I would tell him what I said. That he is stuck. That he isn’t healing. That he was thrown off the horse and hasn’t gotten back on since. He needs to get back up and ride again.If he feels that he can’t, then he needs to find another therapist who can help him understand why he is so immobilized.I have some guesses. I think that he never accessed his angry feelings. These feelings turned inward in the form of self-annihilation. Instead of admitting his murderous rage toward the people who screwed him over, he has killed himself instead–and, yes, he is living a slow death. That’s what happens when rage isn’t owned and worked through.He is also playing the role of the wounded victim. Somebody’done him wrong’and he isn’t going to let go of this wounded pup routine. The question is why. There are two obvious reasons I can think of. The first reason goes back to not owning his anger. Victims are people who can’t admit that they are furious. Instead they whine and complain, which is a majorly indirect way of communicating anger. By saying to the world, ‘you harmed me, you hurt me, you ruined my life’ the victim is releasing mountains of anger on others. So, believe me, he is getting a lot out of being stuck in this victim mode. He’s secretly releasing anger, and taking some of the internal pressure off.Only one problem. He’s ruining his life and his marriage. Tell him so. The second reason why he is hanging on to the whipped pup position is because the trauma of losing his job has surely opened up an emotional can of worms from his childhood. He has surely been reminded of other ‘wrongs’that he suffered as a kid. And, here’s the link back to his not being able to own his anger. People who were wounded in childhood often fall into the victim role in adulthood. This is because wounded children rarely have the opportunity to tell their parents how angry they are. Their anger gets buried, and they live in a wait mode, waiting for the day when they can finally release their venom.Low and behold, someone screws them over and all the anger from childhood comes barreling out. If that person can’t openly own his/her anger, then the anger comes out indirectly in this victim act. The victim’s every moan and every sigh is an accusation, a finger pointing, a release of resentment. Only, the victim doesn’t realize what a true victim he is making himself. He is was a victim in his past, now he’s a prisoner in the present, which makes him a permanent victim.You need to explain all this to your husband and invite him to switch therapists. A good modern analyst will help him own his anger and get moving again. His depression will then lift and you will be back in business again.To get him moving, you are going to give him a major wake-up call. Confront him, let him see the truth about what is going on inside him. Demand that he get a different kind of help, and tell him that you aren’t willing to allow yourself to go down with the ship. He needs to get moving or your are going to be forced to move on.Let me know how he responds.