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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hi,14 months ago my depressed partner of 20 years wleft me

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Hi, 14 months ago my depressed partner of 20 years wleft me and our then 21 month old daughter. We were having difficulties at the times in our relationship and his behaviour towards me had bewn cold and neglectful for a while. I have since learned that a lot of his behaviour was characteristic of a man suffering from depression. He has been prescribed anti depressants for a number of years now. Throughout the separation In I would ask hin to come home and for us to work on our problems. And when I would ask this every couple of months or so he said that he needed to sort himself out, his head was in a mess and couldn't deal with the hassle of a relationship. During this time I continued to provide him with support and held the door open for his return. There were many occasions when I could see that he may be regretting his decision to leave. In April we had an argument and he said to me to think that I was talking to my cousin about coming back to you but making a proper go of it this time! I thought about it for a couple of weeks and thought yes...thats what I want too. Then mid may o went to see him regarding our daughter. And from nowhere seemingly to me he told me that he had started dating someone else. It was time that we both moved on. That he didn't know if ot would last with her and tgat ge genuinely believed he would regret his decision. I went through the usual grief phases of denial, anger and bargaining and think I may be entering the sad phase now. I found out that he had been seeing this woman for 5 months before he told me about her and she is someone who I had nevrr met or knew of before but subsequently have found out that he used to hang around with her and her friends, not coming home until the following day, lieing about where he had been and who with. I also found out that it was this womans pet dog that he brought into our family home around 6 months before he walked out. The relationship with her has been on and off (currently off). He has moved into his own flat and I helped him with a few bits and pieces to make the place comfortable. We were getting on great and I could see that he was looking at me in a different way. Like there cwas an attraction between us. He told me that he admitted he was confused and needed to think but later told me that he really enjoyed hanging out with me but as friends only. He still appears to be depressed to me and didn't take the time out to help himself. In fact for the year that he left me his life spiralled more and more out of control. This last week I have been seeking answers from him. He told me that he told me about his girlfriend because she was pestering him to do so. That he left it late to tell me because he didn't want to hurt me. That he believed he would regret his decision because he didn't know if he should be with her. He has also told me he is full of ll of regret but not about what. Thing is I still love him. I still want us to build a relationship as I feel I am better equipped to deal with his depression and I do think we can be happy. I don't know what to do. I don't know whether to carry on mourning and to find myself a good man. ..like he says I deserve. And I don't know if he is having regrets about the choices he has made. Throughout the separation he would say that he wasn't sure he wanted to come home that he needed more time to think. But there were a few times when we were trying to make it work but neither of us were equipped to know how to go about it so the making it work thing never got off the ground.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
From what you are describing, it sounds like your ex might be suffering from more than depression. While depression can be very hard to cope with in a relationship, it does not make someone leave you nor does it cause them to cheat.
Infidelity and leaving a relationship is more often about a person putting their own needs first. And if relationships stress out your ex, then being in a new one is not going to help him. And telling you he does not want to hurt you then proceeding to do so is putting himself first as well.
Because your ex is acting in a way that hurts you, is ignoring your needs and is putting himself first, it is possible that he also has traits of narcissism. If that is the case, he may be viewing everything that is happening as not his fault. He may also be using his depression as a reason why he is acting as he is, rather than taking responsibility for his actions and the pain he is causing you.
If you feel you want to continue to try to get back with your ex, then you might want to consider counseling first. You can either go on your own or try to see if he is willing to go with you. But if he refuses, then going on your own may help you work through your feelings and try again with him.
However, you may also want to consider why you want to be with someone who is putting his own needs first and is hurting you by cheating and leaving you. He also is not helping himself as he needs to by getting treatment to alleviate his symptoms. If he does feel that his depression his causing him to hurt you and that is not what he wants to do, it makes sense that he should seek treatment until he no longer hurts you. Until he does that, he is going to continue to act the same way he is now with you and with others.
If your ex refuses to get help however and will not listen to your needs, it is most likely better for you and your child to have counseling to help you cope with this loss and to move on. While it would be wonderful to have your ex agree to come back, without help, he may end up hurting you again. And you deserve better than to be in a relationship where the other person does not put you first.
I hope this has helped you,
Kate
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5776
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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