More threads by paulwb


Hello, I'm a 38 year old man, good job/career, wonderful 15 year old daughter, educated. I have experienced great adventures and expect to experience more as is my way in life. I have lived all over the U.S. since I turned 18, San Diego, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Tulsa, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and currently in Seattle. If you are tallying this up that's 9 locations in 20 years.

I am depressed, very depressed. I have never experienced depression this intensely in my life and I have been through a few REALLY rough times. I'm taking some anti-depressants but they really don't help much if at all most of the time. Eating is an option for me now, I still exercise, I have too, my adrenaline is too high for me to sit still unless I exhaust myself.

My problem???

Well, my problem is up for debate but I can tell you what brought me to this slippery slide, a woman and my own biological clock. One and half years ago I asked a girl to move in with me, she and I had been talking over the phone for 3 months, she was PERFECT in every way. She was having issues with her family and needed to get out of her current living arrangements, I knew in my heart she was the one for me so I convinced her to live with me. For the 1st 6 months our relationship was the best ANYONE could imagine, we never left each other's side except to go to work and we loved it that way. Then I took a temporary assignment overseas for 2 months that was agreed upon by both of us. Since that moment, things have fallen further into pieces. She lost control after I left, depressed, feelings of abandonment, anger. When I came back I got the brunt of all that for 2 months straight. She apologized every time she lashed out at me but couldn't stop herself. Further complicating our relationship, she was beginning to feel inadequate, loosing her self esteem. She said that it was because I knew so much more or that I wouldn't take her ideas into consideration. Not entirely the case but I did dispute her ideas at times. I little bit of information here, she's 26, 12 years younger. I fully believe she is my equal intellectually, just not the experience behind the decisions yet. Well, the relationship never got better, she felt she couldn't survive without my support, she deferred all decisions to me and she hated herself for being weak, I didn't like it either. Push came to shove, I was offered a job in Seattle and, at the same time, she was being offered a job in Nashville. I saw that as a way for her to gain her self esteem once more, living on her own, providing for her and her 5 yr old boy, she would become the complete person I fell in love with. What did she see? She saw me giving up on her, abandoning her, and she truly believed that even though she gave up on me MANY times I would NEVER do that to her. Four months into us being in different states, our relationship seemed better than ever, I asked her to marry me, she said YES! I have never been married, have always wanted too and believe that there is one soul mate for each of us. One week later, she told me she didn't feel comfortable getting married, we were engaged. Few days later, she asked me to take the ring back. Few days later, she said she and I can only be friends for now. As you can imagine, I, for the first time in my life, truly wanted to die. It was as if the woman I was about to marry was killed. But she wasn't, and she continued to talk to me. She is still talking to me and that was three months ago. She tells me she loves me, she goes back and forth on if we are in a relationship or not. I'm a freakin' Yo-Yo right now and my moods reflect it. Just recently, 2 weeks ago, she agreed we are to be in a committed relationship, drive toward our future together, and asked me to visit. I arranged the flight, told her about it, she was ****ed stating that she never wanted to see me for more than 2 days right now, I planned it for 5 days. Now, we are not in a committed relationship, I don't know what she wants, I know I love her but don't know how I can go on with this.
this sounds like a complicated situation, not one i can really give you much advice on. she sounds like she has a lot of issues that you cannot really fix for her. i don't know what issues of your own you may have that may possibly complicate things. you do mention depression and medication but you do not mention therapy. typically medication alone isn't going to work. research and my own personal experience say that the combination of the two are what are going to get you back to health.

it might not be a bad idea to seek a qualified therapist to help you deal with your depression and help you deal with the stress of your current situation.


I have been speaking with a counselor, she's not helping too much though, talking about it doesn't give me much clarity or relief.

My problem or problems I am still trying to define. I know that I have been allowing her to control the situation way too long, that I think is a problem for me, not standing up against her. I forgive people for almost ANYTHING, ex. my roommate and best friend slept with a girlfriend of mine in my bed while I was at work, I forgave him. Ofcourse he was kissing my ass for months but that was all I did. People find that wrong.
The problem that I can't figure out how to address right now is that my plan to be married has failed, I have planned to be successful, have a family and be married by this point of my life, and now that I see it won't happen I have lost interest in life, I have no motivation for anything. I have been moving from city to city looking for somewhere that I feel I belong and haven't found it. Don't you think that after living in 9 different cities I would have? What am I missing out on? What in my head is telling me I can't be satisfied?

I am rambling and hope that spilling all this junk here is okay. Thanks for the feedback though.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
The problem that I can't figure out how to address right now is that my plan to be married has failed, I have planned to be successful, have a family and be married by this point of my life, and now that I see it won't happen I have lost interest in life, I have no motivation for anything. I have been moving from city to city looking for somewhere that I feel I belong and haven't found it. Don't you think that after living in 9 different cities I would have? What am I missing out on? What in my head is telling me I can't be satisfied?

First, none of us can really "plan" life, and that's probably a good thing. When I look back over forks in the road in my life - whether in career, location, or relationships - there were many times when I felt I knew what I wanted, what was best for me, what I HAD to have. One of the things I learned was that often when something I thought would be great for me and which I absolutely had to have fell through, it opened my eyes to a new path which turned out to be far better.

It's a cliché, but every door closed reveals another door open - every path blocked leaves another path open. I don't think human beings are very good at knowing what's best for them. In most cases, only time and hindsight will give us that information.

Second, I've lived in a LOT more than 9 places in my life. You're not going to find where you belong in a city. People don't belong in cities per se. You belong where you find peace, connections, fulfillment, people. I've been happy in many of the places I lived and unhappy in others but the truth is I didn't really find happiness until the various pieces of my life came together - and that probably could have happened anywhere if the people and other circumstances had been able to come together in another town.

Third, real happiness comes from inside. People can't give it to you, although they can help you to discover it. Places can't give it to you, although they can bring you into contact with people from whom you can learn (about them and about yourself). Things definitely can't give it to you.

You're on a journey. You don't know where it's taking you yet. Have faith that it's taking you somewhere that will give you insight into yourself and what you need to do to feel happier with who you are. I have found that things often turn out far better for people when they stop trying to force a particular present or future and allow it to unfold - with eyes wide open so you don't miss what you need to learn as you get there.
based on my experiences i agree that it's not the place that can make a person happy. no matter where you go, your personal baggage comes with you. it doesn't get left behind. you can't escape from what troubles you nor can you find answers in a different city.

you need to look within yourself and find peace there. peace with who you are and how your life has turned out so far. you're only 38. there's so much time left! it's not too late to have a family, especially with you being male. as a woman i could see how the pressure would be adding up, but as a man you've still got the ability to have children past the age of 40. women are truly time bound. you are not as strictly bound.

i can relate a lot to the idea that something's missing but wondering what that something is. i also think that whatever it is that is missing is something that is missing inside of you. it's not material things that make us happy, or money (although that can be a temporary boost, and it's definitely a problem when you don't have enough), or people even. happiness comes from within. sometimes we can't be happy because we've got some healing to do first.

with regard to your therapy, you may want to read Between Client And Therapist.

thanks for your post david, very insightful and helpful.


I think it's important to realize that life is a journey. If we plan every step along the way, we miss the beauty of the byroads, and the things that can be seen, and learned, by taking that "road less travelled" that wasn't really on our itinerary. That's how we learn, and how we grow as human beings.

Relax a bit and smell the roses along your path, paulwb. Perhaps, this relationship wasn't meant to be; however, that doesn't mean the next relationship won't be that special one that has been waiting for you all along. Listen to David. He's got it right. :)


I agree with all you're responses but for some reason right now I can't shake the feeling that I just lost the person I was supposed to be with because of my own inability to see what was in front of me. I have always lived life as a journey but my journey has goals that up till now I was comfortable believing would occur when they were supposed too. I used to believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason and there are no real mistakes. That was all before this event though, now I don't view life that way. We direct our lives, point ourselves in the direction we should go.
Honestly, I think I need to address some demons of my own before I can feel good about life. Looking back on my relationships I see a pattern of women that gravitate to me for help and I willingly take them in. This relationship was similar to those except this time I refused to be her life guard, I forced her to swim. I think that was a good start, just didn't think the tides would take her away after she gained her self respect and I didn’t think I would be so crushed by it. I am taken back by my lack of strength in this situation.
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