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Old 26th March 2010, 06:28 PM   #1
Wiggle
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Long term relationship on the rocks

This website has been helping me considerably for the past few weeks, so I thought I aught to contribute something myself...

Not married, and no kids, but we've been living together for 8.5 years and together for 9+

Things haven't been great for a few years. No hugs or kisses unless I asked for them, never any compliments, constant (and boy, do I mean constant!) criticism - he even had the nerve to winge about the fact I've got one deaf ear! I could never do anything right, which really hit my self-esteem. His get up and go had gone - his response to sugestions to going out was he 'couldn't be bothered'. His nickname was Mr Grumpy.

To be fair, he's a brilliant DIY'er, spent time doing up my first flat and is great at all the practical stuff. It had just got to the point where I'd rather spend the evenings on Ebay than in the same room as him 'cos we just argued...

Last year I told him I thought he was depressed, and begged him to go to the doctor. It took a few more conversations with me in tears to get him to go, but he eventually did. He took anti-depressants for a while but then stoppped. What I didn't know was that he then asked the doctor if he could see a counsellor, and has been going along for the last year (I only found out this January.)

So, this January we had a conversation which ended up with me moving into the spare room initially. The house is HIS, and always has been - he says he's scared he'd lose half of it (which is a. insulting and b. I could, theoretically, try for half anyway because I've been paying him rent effectively for the past 8.5 years...)

It knocked me for six. I stopped eating, ended up taking time off work sick, couldn't think straight - this has been one of the worst experiences of my life. I HATE waking up each morning a bloomin' wreck, with my stomach and head swilling around. Lost half a stone in a fortnight. My parents (ok, my Mum) persuaded me to move out into a rented room which, to be honest, I wasn't sure about because we'd very tentatively started to talk properly for probably the first time in the relationship. The fact that I didn't go off the deep end when we talked about it made him realise, he says, that he could talk about it (when have I EVER thrown a wobbly at him? I'm one of those that will bottle it up rather than scream abuse - maybe that's where I've gone wrong??!)

Moving out - best thing, looking back. It gave us both the space certainly I needed to have a damn hard look at myself. We had a couple of hard chats when I popped back to collect my stuff (he actaully missed one of his sacred badminton sessions to talk - OMG). I'd mentioned Relate to him twice but he'd dismissed it totally. Which sounded like the death knell to me, so I cut all contact with him except for terse e-mails re. collecting post and bits & pieces.

I'm being booted off the library computer (have no regular access to internet - my computer is still at his place...) so will continue tomorrow.

Huge admiration to all of you who are going through this with children - it puts what I'm going through in real perspective
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Old 27th March 2010, 10:20 AM   #2
topro86
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Hi, well it's just sad! i mean nine years with someone and then this...huh! you have just scarred me a little, cause i am in relationship which lasts for 5 years, and that is the worst end i can think of! That is just not a short period, you have passed so much together..had so many nice and bad moments but at the end they all seem nice and unique, true? just wish you all the best, and hope you will be well soon! maybe even get together with him, when realize what you mean to him! regards!
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Old 29th March 2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

OK, try to pick up where I left off!!

We’d actually started talking, and I decided to move out. I wondered at the time whether that was the right decision and he said at the time he wasn’t sure either as we’d actually started talking, and I do still wonder, but at the time staying in the house was making me ill with the stress of it all.

We initially had a couple of phone calls. He asked me what I wanted. I said I wanted old him back, the version I had met and wanted to be with. He sounded a little better after I’d said that. But he still wasn’t open to the idea of Relate.

I cut all contact with him for a week and a half at least. I was hurt, angry and a wreck. He eventually rang me (which was very nice) and suggested we meet up for a chat, and actually said he would research into Relate and look at making an appointment (!!!!). I agreed, so we met up in a pub after work. I was still angry and let rip at him a bit, telling him I wasn’t going to be a gap-filler or just someone there to stop him feeling lonely. He said he wasn’t sure the old version of him was coming back, with the counselling he’d been doing etc, which I acknowledged and joked that maybe what was needed was a ‘new, improved’ version.

I aught to say a bit about the counselling – he says that has made him realise a number of things. He can’t recall being hugged by his parents beyond the age of 7. He has no happy childhood memories (nothing nasty, just no happy ones) He lived by himself for years before I came along, and says it was very hard for him to adjust to doing *everything* together (I just assumed that’s what couples did, I suppose because that’s what my parents do…) He said he has difficulty with the ‘L’ word because he used it once with a previous girlfriend and got knocked back.

Now, this is the odd bit – after a few weeks by myself, the focus changed. It wasn’t something I consciously did, it was like someone had just reached in and changed the focus. I started having a hard look at the way I had behaved in the relationship. Maybe it was my Mum saying that he had done a lot for me, but she’d wondered what I ever did for him. And I realised (and it’s painful to admit, because it means accepting part responsibility for the way things have been) I’d been living in the house like a teenager- if I could have got away with hoovering once every 6 months, I probably would have! (and I have a cat). I hate housework, but it wasn’t fair to leave it all to him. He did try to talk about it, but not knowing how to, it came out as constant nagging and criticism – and we all know how the average human being responds to that…and I never responded to his romantic gestures. Looking back now, I think I was just too scared too…

So yes, I now realise that it takes 2 to make a relationship, and it takes 2 to quite thoroughly b*gger it up!

I asked him for a chat a week ago last Friday. I explained what I’d realised, and admitted that maybe there needed to be a new improved version of me too. He said he was happier by himself () and was regaining a sense of his old self, but that he was keeping an open mind about things. I mentioned the possibility of going on holiday together. He said that freaked him out (oh, joy). He also said that he wished I’d kept my mobile phone on more when we were together, because he thought a couple should send little texts to each other. To which I told him I wished he’d said that before, because I would have made more of an effort. He replied that he just didn’t talk, did he, and looked sheepish. He said that the walk we had on the beach last summer, he’d actually enjoyed. I pointed out he’d acted like a miserable g*t the whole day. He said that the time we spent at his mum’s reading books on the same bed, he actually enjoyed. Why the bl**dy hell did he not say so at the time? What do I make of that? Oh, the over-analysis!

His Aunt had died that week and he was away for the next week with work, so I offered to organise the Relate thing (I wanted to get it moving because I believed they may have a long waiting list). He was still up for that, so we’re going to Relate this Wed, all being well.

What a mess. Things I have learned, wish I’d realised earlier, and hope it helps others:

A) Don’t wait for the wheels to fall off before seeking help with your relationship! We get our cars checked out if they started making silly noises – why don’t we do that with something far more important?
B) Talk. Yes, every single relationship guru isn’t joking when they say it’s vital. The stupid thing I now realise is we didn’t talk about ‘stuff’ (and that includes sex) because neither of us were comfortable with it (as I said to him, it’s our similarities, not our differences that have caused this situation) but believe me, being in this mess is a DAMN sight more uncomfortable than talking would have been. Argh!!.
C) Appreciate!! It is so easy to take each other for granted. Yep, we made that mistake as well (I sometimes think the only relationship error we’ve not made – or I certainly haven’t – is infidelity…)
D) Take responsibility. There are two in a relationship. It takes two to muck it up. We may not realise what it is we’re doing / not doing (I didn’t) but in some way, we’ve contributed to the set-up of the relationship. (yes, it would have been nice to have been told in an adult, serious way – that’s where they’ve contributed to the mess…see B!!) It HURTS (I know) to admit it, but the good thing (I guess) is that at least once the problem/s are recognised they can be worked on. I’m not talking change who you are, but perhaps how you are (ie. be a bit more communicative, appreciative, romantic, in my case more domestic!) (how many brackets can I incorporate into a sentence? Let me count the ways…!) I’m not saying it’ll save the relationship you’re in now (I’m not sure it’s going to save mine…) but if we don’t address our own problems now, we’ll just cart them into the next relationship…and the one after that….
E) I absolutely believe it’s not your differences that cause problems, it’s how you *deal* with those differences. Yes, I’d love it if he were more intellectual, had a full head of hair, and liked dogs, but then he wouldn’t be him, would he? There’s something somewhere that says that there is no such thing as the perfect partner – we’re lucky if we get 75% perfection. So long as the other 25% of your needs can be met elsewhere (apart from the physical) there’s no reason why it can’t work. I can get my intellectual stimulation at evening classes and borrow friend’s dogs now and again. The grass is rarely greener on the other side (I might meet someone with 4 degrees, and find out he’s into S&M!!)

So where do I go from here? I’m scared that moving out was the wrong thing, because I think he’s going to find it harder to let me back in now he’s got used to doing what he wants, when. I’m scared I’m wasting time and emotion on something that he’s already written off. I’m scared I’m too old to find somebody else, and that all the men my age are either married, with kids, or just plain weird. I’m scared I’m trying to hang on to a relationship for the wrong reasons and I should let go. I’m scared I’m reading too much into what he says. I’m scared I’m over-reacting and being too negative. I’m scared of being alone for the rest of my life. I don’t want to re-kindle the first heady days of lurv, because I’m very suspicious of that stuff – I don’t think it lasts long term (and the 101 relationship help books I’ve read seem to agree on that one – hey, I’ve got something right for once!:-) I want to be in a strong, committed, ideally permanent relationship that works as a partnership, a team. I NEVER want to go through this again. Waaaaaiiil!
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Old 31st March 2010, 10:24 AM   #4
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Thank you, mdmquincy, I'll keep going. It is incredibly comforting to read all the other posts. It makes me realise that others are going through the same, if not worse, and are coming out the other end in one piece. And the support you give each other is fantastic! Seven - I think you're doing incredibly well. I'm two months in and still waking up feeling nauseous, can't focus at work and have lost a stone. I just want to wake up one morning feeling normal!

My sister is going through something similar. She split with her OH 6 months ago now (discovered he'd had been cheating on her for over a year with a woman half his age). She is now on anti-depressants and says they're making a difference. She's got her appetite back and is not dwelling on it so much. I asked the doctor for some and got the prescription filled, but not sure whether I should go ahead and take them - it feels like giving in a bit?

Meeting him at Relate this afternoon. I'm hoping that the fact he's willing to go along is a good sign, scared he's just going along to keep me happy 'cos he feels guilty - I guess I'm scared to hope at all...

Ps. Love the idea of Hilda Ogden sweeping negative thoughts away ! I think I'll employ Mrs Overall....
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Old 31st March 2010, 12:26 PM   #5
UpandDown
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Good luck at Relate. We had our first session 3 weeks ago. They start with an assessment then you get a regular slot with a counsellor allegedly, but for some reason me and my H have to go to three more assessments!! Must be very very screwed up! I'm going tomorrow night.

Anyway, will be keeping my fingers crossed for you. It does sound like there's a good chance you guys can fix your relationship now you know the problems.

Let us know
Love Kathryn
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Old 31st March 2010, 12:54 PM   #6
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Hi Kathryn,

Thank you for the positive outlook - everybody else has been telling me I'm wasting my time.

Perhaps they want more assessments with you because they've picked up on his depression?

The idea of fixing things is what's terrifying me. I've looked back and I've got some idea of where we went wrong, and I'm desperate to try and sort it out but I'm not sure he's so willing.

Good luck with your session tomorrow - I'll be rooting for you!

Hugs
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Old 31st March 2010, 10:36 PM   #7
UpandDown
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

I don't think you can ever be wasting your time when you're trying to work on your marriage. I want to be able to walk away from the biggest commitment I made in my life bar the kids, knowing I tried everything to hold it together. I think while there's still hope we have to try.

Have a good night.
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Old 1st April 2010, 09:14 AM   #8
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Relate last night.

It went ok, although he did most of the talking (i think because he's had a year of counselling - he's more used to it than I am.) He still says he's not sure, but keeping an open mind.

What was interesting was we went for a coffee afterwards, and it descended into the usual him having a go at me for being a late riser, taking the big 'housework' stick out again and beating me over the head with that, and, oh, yes, his favourite, the fact that he has to repeat himself because of my deaf ear annoys him. Everything was about him, and the impact stuff had on him - I don't think he's ever once considered what it's like for me to live with a deaf ear (no great issue, it's just one of those things you deal with - he's the one blowing it into a big problem!)

And I just sat there, looking at him, and feeling - why am I even bothering with a man like that? He's admitted that he acts nice all the time (except to me) because he doesn't want to upset people, he wants to be liked. So does that then mean the man I met was a total fake? Have I just wasted the last decade on a jerk in disguise?

I WISH I could just let rip at him at the time. I seethe afterwards, and think of what I would like to have said, but I just keep quiet in front of him - why do I do that?

When I repeated the deaf ear bit to a housemate, he recommended kicking ex into orbit...
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Old 1st April 2010, 09:46 AM   #9
UpandDown
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Hi Wiggle

In our first session my H seemed to do most of the talking too. Hopefully it will even out in future sessions and you will get a chance to express yourself. The good thing about counselling is he can't be mean to you there because of the counsellor being present, so he'll have to really think about what he says to you.

It's a shame it degenerated into him having his usual go at you. Obviously he will need to get over those issues and put them to be/accept them if he's to move on. He seems stuck in a groove with it. Sounds a bit like the blame shifting my H does.

When are you going back?
Love Kathryn
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Old 6th April 2010, 01:52 PM   #10
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Hi Kathryn,

I'm concerned he's presenting his 'nice' face to the counsellor too, which means the whole thing will have been a waste of time.

Not sure if we'll go again - the counsellor's verdict was that we seemed to have all the communication skills we needed, were talking honestly and openly in front of her, but that most of the relationship skills they teach are best practised if you're living together and we aren't now (did I do the right thing by moving out? But then I was sooo ill...). But she did make the point about there being a neutral third person present.

I'm now not sure it's worth going again, after the things he said both in and out of the session. In session he said he expected things to 'click' with someone and they hadn't with me (so why ask me to move in???!). He says he's happier by himself (but cries because he's alone. Not because he misses me, note...) He admits he sounds like a stuck record, and yes, I completely agree his behaviour sounds a lot like your H. I still think he's depressed, but is blaming that on me. I suspect 52 weeks of 1-2-1 counselling has made him very self-centred.

He talks about finding a compromise around housework, getting up etc. which I'm open to, but knowing him I just don't think he'd be happy with a compromise even. I think if it wasn't all his way he'd still grumble...

I'm so TIRED of all of this. I'm starting to conclude that he simply doesn't love me, and I need to move on and work out what it is I want. From what I've read on this forum, that seems to be a win-win move- I sort myself out, look fab (having lost a stone through the stress) go travelling etc. and either he wakes up and smells the coffee, or I carry on looking fab and focusing on making myself happy, which can't be a bad thing either.

How are your sessions going? I've read some of the Relate books and thought they were good - lots of practical advice.

Love and hugs, Hazel
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Old 6th April 2010, 05:54 PM   #11
UpandDown
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Hi Hazel

Not sure if you've read any of my thread, but I'm going through a bit of a sea change the last couple of days. I am fully aware it is temporary (this roller coaster ride makes sure of that) but for now I am taking the opportunity to rest from the gut-wrenching, overwhelming sadness of the previous weeks.

The counselling hasn't gone well. It doesn't look like they'll continue with us. I think you've hit the nail on the head - they have to want to change. It seems like you have had a long, hard look at yourself and your part in this break up and you are willing to compromise. You doubt his ability to do the same, however.

I definitely think there is something in the year of counselling he's had. I'm speaking from the experience of knowing two people who have had weekly counselling for years now and I don't believe it is helpful. Obviously it can be, but it certainly has the potential to be a crutch, just something they use to get through the week, not a catalyst for growth. I imagine you are right that the counselling has made him selfish - although depression will do that too.

About moving out, when my H first started talking about possibly no longer loving me, I found it extremly stressful and after 2 weeks I had a memory loss moment and realised I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I had railed against the idea of staying somewhere else as I just felt I had to be there ready to work on it with him the moment he wanted to (at first he said he needed to sort it out on his own and started seeing a psychotherapist) but when I had the memory incident I realised I had to move out if I was going to be able to continue looking after the children in the day. It didn't work out, however, as the kids were too unsettled, so we swapped.

My point is, don't worry about whether it was right or wrong to move out. You did what you had to do at the time. Yes, in an ideal world you would want to be living there, but living apart has allowed you that space to think things through for yourself. If you feel better now though, move back in. Don't ask him, just tell him you want to and suggest a day. Do you have a spare room? At least you would be in the same house.

Check out the legal position in your country regarding what you would be entitled to if you did seperate (I'm in UK btw, can't remember if you are too?) You must make sure you are treated fairly. Only you can look out for your own interests in this, he definitely won't.

It sounds a bit like some of the things he says make no sense (like the "clicking" thing) and if you take on board everything he says you will go mad. My H says all sorts of odd things and I used to spend ages trying to understand but now I realise it just doesn't make any sense and to stop trying!

He also seems very obsessed by the housework and those little issues. Instead of worrying about those annoyances, he would be better off trying to get back his "get up and go" and get out and have some fun/be loving towards you. That would be much better than lots of counselling telling him to blame his parents and you.

Basically he needs to get a life and start becoming a more fun person to be around and give you a chance to change those things he doesn't like.

Sorry if this post is slightly negative towards your H! Have had to put up with a very grumpy H myself today and had the thought many times "why am I bothering"!!!

Love Kathryn
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Old 12th April 2010, 10:31 AM   #12
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Morning Kathryn,
Yes, I'm in the UK too - in the SE.
I've read your new thread. I'm so sorry to hear that he's been mucking you about - I think living in false hope (as I now think I've been doing) is far worse than a clean break. They really are gutless wonders.
Yes, I do doubt his ability to compromise. His Dad never so much as boiled the kettle even after he retired, and I have the sneaking suspicion that's what he subconciously expects...what's really driving me nuts at the moment is I've admitted my part in all of this, but he's so self-centred it's all about how things have impacted on him - he's not once realised how his behaviour impacted on me.
Relieved to hear your opinion on the counselling. I think it has given him excuses, rather than pointers for personal growth.
I don't feel I can tell him I'm moving back in. It's always been his house. Luckily I have got a flat I've been renting out, so I won't be homeless. When it all first kicked off, I mentioned the possibility of me staying over weekends so we could chat. He said he felt like I'd be invading his space....
I take on board what you say about making no sense. He doesn't. And it has been driving me nuts. I'm starting to wonder if he is depressed, or if he's just been as nasty as he can be to me for the last few years so I'd leave voluntarily and do his dirty work for him (b*stard).
Yes, he is obsessed by stupid little things. The Relate counsellor picked up on that and pointed out how daft it was to get up tight over hoovering. He responded that it was important to him. She said that often issues over housework are actually symptomatic of not feeling listened too or respected. I'm not sure he even heard that bit.
PLEASE don't apologise for being negative about my OH - you can't be anymore negative about him than I have! He's been grumpy, miserable, self-centred, selfish, emotionally immature, deceptive, rude, nasty, and apparently incapable of empathy.
Yes, I'm wondering 'why am I bothering?' too. I'm trying to get it into my head that he doesn't love me, need me or want me, and then focus on pleasing myself. Am seriously considering going travelling for 6 months...
Thank you for taking the time to respond to this. This forum has helped me keep what little sanity I had to start with!

Love & hugs
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Old 13th April 2010, 10:21 AM   #13
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

Relate session was two weeks ago. I've not heard from him since. Didn't want to make the first move and ring him considering the way he'd spoken to me after the session. I'm trying to retain some pride!

Got in today to find an e-mail from him suggesting we meet up for a chat tomorrow afternoon.

Not sure I want to. I'm inclined to ring him tonight and ask him why? If it's going to consist of another half-an-hour Hazel-bashing session I can live without that.
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Old 13th April 2010, 06:23 PM   #14
UpandDown
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks

OMG........ What will you do about the meet up? When I had my meeting with H on Saturday (which turned into us breaking up) I went with a really clear idea in my mind of what I wanted out of it. I also prepared in my mind answers to everything he might say. In your case, you know the sort of thing he says as he is like a bloomin' stuck record......so you can keep saying "be that as it may, what about X" or "yes I agree that is the case, but what we're talking about right now is Y". It all depends if you feel strong enough to meet with him. If not you could say yes to meeting him with a counsellor present instead? I agree you definitely need to find out what it's about so you can prepare yourself.

Also, it's great that he's contacted you. Maybe he'll apologise for the things he said? (We can hope!!)

Love Kathryn
x

PS I live in Surrey. If you live near me perhaps we can meet up one day?
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Old 14th April 2010, 10:41 AM   #15
Wiggle
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Re: Long term relationship on the rocks


After the last 'chat' we had, I wanted to make it clear I wasn't putting up with that again, so I rang him last night.

Do you know, he hadn't a clue how he'd come across, or why what he'd said had made me angry?! What the bl**dy hell has his counsellor been telling him? Mine after only 4 sessions told me to try and use 'I' statements rather than 'you'. I tried to explain to him using examples what was wrong with what he'd said and how he'd said it. It's like teaching a 7 year old. Is he deliberately being dense to get the sympathy vote?He didn't once say 'sorry'.

We subsequently carried on with a long 'phone chat. I said I thought he'd been horrid to me deliberately over the last few years in the hope I would leave. He said that he 'couldn't deny the thought had crossed his mind'. He then said very meekly that didn't make him a very nice person. I said that it had been hard for me to be that nasty to him for two weeks (I'd tried reflecting his behaviour to try and get him to understand how he was treating me), and he'd managed it for three years, which said something. Can't remember what he replied.

I told him bluntly I didn't think he was that bothered. He wailed that he didn't know, wasn't sure. I told him that if he was that bothered, he'd know. He said something about what I'd said in Relate about wanting to try and sort it out. I said yes, but it takes two to want to fix things and I didn't think he was that bothered. I think that statement panicked him....

He wailed that he didn't know what to say, how to compliment me, didn't 'get' why what he says often constitutes criticism etc. I said maybe he aught to go on a communication course. He said it would probably help, but he didn't have the confidence or engergy to do anything like that these days.

He said he can't concentrate at work, he's given up going swimming and is finding it hard to keep going to badminton, he feels totally stuck, has no interest in sorting out the house, etc. etc. At the weeknds he just gets a DVD out and sits in the house watching it 'cos it's easy. I listed off the classical symptoms of depression and pointed out that everything he'd mentioned fitted. He said he didn't 'get' depression. I replied that he bl**dy well has got it, regardless, but I couldn't make him do anything he didn't want to.

I asked him if he missed me. He said he missed the conversation. I said did he miss anything else? He replied that he saw a photo of the me the other day and started thinking that maybe it could work out, maybe it was better than he'd thought - and then a load of negative thoughts about the whole thing just started crowding into his head.

He's already admitted he goes into every relationship expecting it to fail.
I'm starting to pity and despise him. Which is probably not a bad place to be right now. What sort of person doesn't 'get' hugs?

I asked him at the end if he still wanted to meet up today. He said (humbly) that he did. He had his last counselling session this Monday. I'm going to have to disabuse him of any notion he might have that I'm going to be a free, replacement counsellor.
I don't understand why he still wants to meet up and chat if he's not that bothered. I think he's looking for emotional support for himself rather than wanting to see if anything is fixable (sigh).

One good thing about last night - he didn't mention housework once !!!

Apologies it's a long post - it was a long phone call...

Kathryn: I'm in Godalming (in a rented room!) Meeting up would be nice, if you have the time with everything else that's going on. Is there a secure way I can give you my tel no?

xx
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