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Question
Posted by: Joelle | 2012-09-19

Relationship coming to an end

My boyfriend and I were two foreigners working in Canada when we met 9 months and a half ago. We got along very well and immediately started spending time together on a daily basis. Soon, we were more than friends. However, my boyfriend had a one-year contract only, so we knew that we''d have to decide what to do after. He applied for jobs in different countries including Canada again (so we could stay together) but he got rejected in Canada and got accepted for a permanent position in France, which is what he always wanted because he was tired of moving from country to country all the time. I had two jobs in Canada but his field is much more specific and I knew how much it meant to him to get this position, so we decided we''d both move to France together. He said if I didn''t find a job, I could also study or take some time off, if I wanted, because all he wanted was for me to feel happy here. But since we left Canada 2 months ago, everything has been very difficult. I first spent 3 weeks at my parents while he visited friends in Spain. Then he met my family and was unhappy the whole time. After that, I went to his home country and met his family, with whom he has a bad relationship. Whenever I was nice to them, he felt I cared more about them than him. Now, in France, things aren''t any better. I decided to look for a job, although he said I don''t need to. But this made him feel like I want HIM to find me a job. He says he feels like I never do anything on my own, even though I never asked for his help. And then he keeps saying I don''t have to look for a job but on the other hand he loves to say things like " don''t worry, you have time, you''re on holidays" .
He has depression, which he already admitted to to me, but he wouldn''t tell this to anyone else, especially his friends. He has told me many times no one has ever treated him so nicely and he is scared to lose me, but I feel I''m never good enough. I''m always too slow or too dumb. Plus, I don''t smoke and girls who do are sexier... And he''s obsessed with the idea that I never talk to him. I try but he never sees it. But the other day we were with his friend and I talked and laughed a lot and he got the idea that I like his friend more than I like him. The problem is I really love him but I can find no effective way to make him see it. He always thinks I''m going to leave him for another man. So to protect himself, there are a couple of best friends (girls) who he says would never want to be in a relationship with him but whom he deliberately hasn''t told anything about me because he probably wants to always have them as a back-up, I find. Needless to say, according to his words, they are the only ones who know how to talk to him and understand him, and they are cool girls and naturally very intelligent. Sometimes I wonder if he knows how much it hurts me when he tells me they are so much better. But he says he won''t try anything with them because they wouldn''t want anything and I am more honest and better looking (the only advantages apparently). Deep down, I know he knows I love him and knows I have some vamue, but more and more he says things to hurt my feelings. Only after long discussions and a lot of crying does he go back to his normal self, when he has hope and smiles again. Then he is the sweetest person again and wants to have a future together and a family. But it takes just a wrong work or a small detail for him to feel like his life is worth nothing and he is all alone in this world. Then he chooses to be alone and is miserable until the moment when I gather my strength together again and try my best to make him feel better. It''s getting very exhausting for me and I feel like most of the time I have to prove to him that we could be happy together and that life cold be beautiful he he learned to relax more. What do I do to help him? I would like to see him happy for a week, without any critical moments... If I could make him happy 6 days out of 7, at least. Right now, he''s not even talking to me and we both feel sad.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its not up to you to make him happy - that's his job and his responsibility. Of course you should not be trying to make him UNhappy, but that's different.
Girls who smoke are NEVER sexier than other girls - they smell and taste like an ashtray, and will develop a whole range of unpleasant diseases relating to smoking.
Anyway, it sounds as though you each have problems of low-self-esteem and insecurity, and would probably have had difficulties together wherever you lived and worked. Couples counselling might help, if it is acessible to the pair of you in France ( its been years since I lived and worked for short times in France, so I'm not sure of what is currently available there . Mental health services there tend still to be rather unhelpfully analytically oriented rather than using modern and more effective techniques like CBT.
He probably needs to seek local assessment and treatment for his depression, too, because in significant ways you seem to be also suffering from HIS depression.
His odd reaction to your seeking work raises the question of whether he might prefer to keep yopu dependent on him, so he could be more in control of the situation, and more confident that you would stay with him because you had no alternative

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012-09-19

*If I could make him happy 6 days out of 7, at least.*

Nothing you can do will make another person happy in the long run. We must each take responsibility for our own happiness. It sounds to me as if your bf is scared of being alone and keeps you around because you fulfill a role in his life. He might even love you, but his own psychological problems prevents his from showing you the love and having a happy life and relationship. Encourage him to seek help from a professional. If he refuses, seriously consider the long term prospects for this relationship. And please, don''t fall pregnant unless the issues are sorted out. I despair about the number of women who post on this forum to ask advice after they got pregnant by a man who is clearly not suitable for a long term relationship, or to be a father!

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-09-19

Its not up to you to make him happy - that's his job and his responsibility. Of course you should not be trying to make him UNhappy, but that's different.
Girls who smoke are NEVER sexier than other girls - they smell and taste like an ashtray, and will develop a whole range of unpleasant diseases relating to smoking.
Anyway, it sounds as though you each have problems of low-self-esteem and insecurity, and would probably have had difficulties together wherever you lived and worked. Couples counselling might help, if it is acessible to the pair of you in France ( its been years since I lived and worked for short times in France, so I'm not sure of what is currently available there . Mental health services there tend still to be rather unhelpfully analytically oriented rather than using modern and more effective techniques like CBT.
He probably needs to seek local assessment and treatment for his depression, too, because in significant ways you seem to be also suffering from HIS depression.
His odd reaction to your seeking work raises the question of whether he might prefer to keep yopu dependent on him, so he could be more in control of the situation, and more confident that you would stay with him because you had no alternative

Reply to cybershrink

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