More threads by ineffectivegal

Well, there will be more than I can type right now, but here's the skinny:

my partner of two years found out in May that his dad is not his dad.
He's 32 years old and just hearing this from his mother.

He had NO IDEA.

He has two brothers. He is the middle child. All three brothers come from different fathers, none of whom were involved really with the kids at all, although his brothers seem to at least have contact and some kind of a relationship with their fathers.
His older brother knew about his dad not being his dad, and never told him.

My partner has become more withdrawn, more aggressive (in arguments, in challenging me to leave him bec. he is 'not good enough'), working a lot,

I'm just beside myself. I pushed really hard the other night for him to tell me what was going on with him, and he ended up telling me he feels he is, among other things:
-a sterotype
-a bastard
-a joke among his family - everybody knew but him
-not worth anything
-doesn't know who he is
-doesn't know if he can be in this relationship because he just can't think about 'us'.

I don't know how to handle this.
I told him that until he loves himself, it's going to be tough for us.
I said we should have space - he has said he wants this too.

I feel totally helpless, and also unwanted. Why doesn't he want me to help him. Why won't he let me be there for him? My friends come to me when they are down. But not him.
I feel awful.
Re: how to help my partner with this nightmare

i am sorry you both are going through this. this is a very difficult time for you both. it probably upsets him to talk about it, this may be a possible reason for him not wanting you to help him? i really cannot give you any answers there, as it all depends on the person that he is. he may just be in too much pain over it and unable to cope.

it's been a good 6 months since he's found out and since things have been difficult. if things haven't let up (and it sounds like this may be the case), do you think he would be willing to speak to a counsellor or therapist about this?


Re: how to help my partner with this nightmare

This was a pretty traumatic event for him, obviously. My guess is, he's suffering from depression. Men often show depression with aggression, rather than sadness. Is there any possibility you might get him to seek some therapy? It would help him to work through this with a professional, and possibly get on some medication to help him control the depression.
thanks both for the replies.
He is, and has been in therapy since before this started.

I think his therapist is useless. He only seems to get worse.

He only blames himself for this all. He won't, not even for one minute, get upset with his mother for a. having an affair, and b. never telling him this news until now. Unreal.
Although, I imagine it is scary for him to be mad at her, feeling as though she is the only one he has.

He feels he hates himself.
Recognizes a pattern in his life of going from one undone relationship to another, a triangle ongoing.. he feels he is reliving exactly the way his mother and father did.. and didn't even know it.

I am just ... I don't know.
How long is too long when do I get to say 'what about us' when is it long enough that this relationship has revolved around him?
I want to love him through this but it's just difficult. How can you love someone who doesn't love themselves? It's a lot of work.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
It's a lot of work.
It is indeed. And you can be his wife, his lover, his friend... but you cannot be his therapist.

Try to encourage him to talk to a counselor about what he is struggling with, if not for himself for the sake of your relationship. He doesn't have to continue to feel like this and neither do you...


"How long is too long..." is a difficult question to answer. It depends on the person, and on the situation. However, it's important to realize that you have a life, too. It's NOT all about him. You have to look out for yourself, and ensure that your health and well-being are not negatively impacted to the point that you lose sight of fulfilling your own hopes and dreams.

We can only offer so much of ourselves. When our offering begins to deplete our resources to the point that we can't live a happy, productive life, we've given too much. That's the time to take stock of what you want in life, and to decide whether what you're doing to support another is going to result in a lack of support for your own life and your own happiness. The only one who can decide when that point has been reached is you.

Are you in therapy, by chance. If not, it might be a good idea for you to seek some help with these issues, as well. :hug:
Thanks... I know. i am in therapy too, working on my own things, like for instance not feeling like everything is aimed at me.

We talked last night and my bf told me he basically doesn't want me. He is in love with me, I'm 'the one' but he feels 'broken' and 'can't give me what I should be getting, I should be wiht my friends, etc.'
This sucks.

If I were better, smarter, handled this better, then he wouldn't feel this way. I pushed too hard to ask 'what about us' and now there is no us.

I'm angry and bitter. How can he tell me I'm not good enough when all I want to do is be here for him. I love him and I hate him right now. I want to ignore him and forget him and yet I want to run to him and say why??? How can you do this???

I'm angry that I can't get it right. :(

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Perhaps you're not the one who isn't getting it right, ineffectivegal. You can only do what you can do. You can't compel him to get help to deal with his issues if he chooses not to do so.

I'm not sure how that conversation ended last night but it seems to me you have two choices here:

1. Be patient. Continue to work on your own issues. Ask your therapist for help in how to cope with a depressed partner. Hope that in time he'll work through this on his own or realize he needs help to do that and gets the help he needs. Recognize that depressed people don't think very clearly or logically so that his current reaction is not necessarily reflective of how he feels about you. But also recognize that there are no guarantees that he will "snap out of it" any time soon.

2. Recognize that this will probably take more time than you want to give or more time than you want to suffer, that you have a right to be happy and to be with a partner who can be loving and supportive, that his refusal to seek or accept help also impacts negatively on your well-being, and try to move on with your life without him. Talk to your therapist about this option too.
Thanks.. yes. Yes I know I can see that the options right now are to leave the situation or to accept this 'gray' area of 'I don't know what I can do for this relationship right now' coming from him.
I don't do well with gray. It's difficult for me.
He is in therapy, but I asked him, 'do you feel she really understands how down you are? I've watched you spiral for six months..' And he said no, he doesn't think she really gets it, but that going to someone new would be 'starting over' and he just doesn't have the energy to do that.

I just keep coming back to myself. Selfish I know. The thing is, this might not have anything to do with me, but I am (in addition to him) paying a price - losing my lover, my companion - and it feels unfair. I didn't cause this and yet I don't have any option to fix it.

He is still choosing not to be with me. I'm trying to focus on 'it's not my fault', but since I'm feeling the consequences, it sure feels like I'm paying. Why would I pay if it were not my fault?

I feel pathetic. I have therapy tomorrow and I am exhausted, called in sick to work, have not slept at all since last night just crying crying. Who would want to date me now? My partner DUMPED ME when he was down - which is a huge red flag that I am not dependable, I am not someone you can turn to, I'm the one you shave off when the going gets tough. Great.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I just keep coming back to myself. Selfish I know.
No. It's not selfish. It's self-protection. You have to look after yourself right now because he isn't capable of looking after anyone but himself. Living with someone who is depressed is incredibly difficult.

Who would want to date me now? My partner DUMPED ME when he was down - which is a huge red flag that I am not dependable, I am not someone you can turn to, I'm the one you shave off when the going gets tough.
That's not true, either. One of the symptoms of major depression is anhedonia - loss of ability to experience pleasure. Another is dulling of all other feelings except depression, hopelessness, pessimism, and despair. You're not being "dumped" because you're undependable. You're being "dumped" because he is incapable of feeling anything positive for you, himself, or anyone else right now.


First, I don't see that he told you you're not good enough. What he said was that he is broken and can't give you what you need. There's a huge difference between those two statements.

Second, if the roof falls in on your house, it's not your fault. However, you still can't live in a house with no roof. The roof must be repaired for the house to again be a home. If he can repair the damage to himself, and get himself on the road to health, perhaps the relationship can be repaired. If he can't, then you'd be doomed to a life of misery if you returned to the relationship.

You have to look after yourself. That's not selfish. That's just common sense. He's responsible for looking after himself.
My partner DUMPED ME when he was down - which is a huge red flag that I am not dependable, I am not someone you can turn to, I'm the one you shave off when the going gets tough. Great
this doesn't say anything about you or the person you are, ineffectivegal. it doesn't mean you're not dependable or not someone you can turn to. all it means is that he isn't thinking clearly right now. depression has a nasty way of doing that to people. i've suffered depression, in that time i ended up believing things that simply are not true. i felt worthless, like a horrible person, not worthy of being loved, i felt i didn't deserve any of the good things i have in my life including my family. i thought everyone would be better off without me. what i wanted at times was to just run away from it all, hide, cover up. i picked fights with those i love the most. it was an awful place to be. it didn't mean that those i love were at fault, or to blame. it just meant that i was in pain and my thinking had become too depressed. everything hurt. i just couldn't handle the daily stresses of life anymore and i pushed away those closest to me. every little thing would set me off. i withdrew from friends and family, from life. this may be what is happening to your boyfriend. it's the depression causing him to do this. it has nothing to do with who you are, or your abilities as a person to be turned to in a time of need. he's withdrawing, because that's what depression makes you want to do.
I'm glad you're all here. This helps a bit so that I can see a different, objective perspective.

I'm totally heartbroken and all I want is to be near him.

I sent him an email last night telling him how I was trying to see his perspective, that I thought I too had been in that dark place when love only feels smothering and judgy, and you just can't accept it.. no one can help..
I told him that I didn't know how long I could 'do' space (in the end of our talking last night, he said he was still commited, but that he 'needed to do this alone, is that ok?')
.. but that I would give him space.
And now I just find this too difficult to endure.
He tells me in this conversation last night many things, including, he loves me. He thinks I am the one. He wants to be with me. He can't give me what I want. I make him feel pressured. He thinks I'm worth working through this for, keeping this together, he wants me to be here for him, he doesn't want me to be here for him.

I am totally totally confused, hurt, have zero answers or explanations, why can't this just work and right now it feels like things work for everyone else so easily. I'm going from pity party to logical to irrational.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
He may be as confused as you are, ineffectivegal. The bottom line is you can only do as much as you can, and for as long as you can. And even then you have to make certain that you are looking after YOU while you determine what to do.


It sounds like he feels he really needs to work on himself, and that he needs space and time to do so. He's not rejecting you, he's just asking you for time to heal himself. It's a lot more difficult to work with yourself when you have someone else to think about. It will be a lot easier for him to do what he has to do if he has only himself to worry about through this time.

I can understand your desire to be near someone you care about. However, if that person needs to be alone while he works out some kinks, giving him space is loving him in a very clear and special way.
You are so right.
Sitting here crying all day I realize that the best - although most very difficult way for me to take care of both myself and him, is to just let him go.

He asked for space. I guess if you love someone, you give them that.
I also have to realize that this is not fulfilling - always feeling like I am trying and he is not really present.

This is painful. I'm disappointed. WE talked of marriage, all the time, he tells me he still thinks that we are meant to be, but right now he can't. Whatever that means. I can't know if we will get back together, or not. Who knows.

It's painful to let go. This wasn't the plan. Doesn't he know he is breaking my heart not being able to do this? Does he even care? Ugh


Disappointment is always painful, and it's hard to let go. Yet, we have to go on. We pick up the pieces and start putting one foot in front of the other. The good thing is, we learn something each time we make it through a difficult time.

I don't know that your partner doesn't care. It sounds like he's just unable to deal with the issues that are bringing him down right now. He needs time, and space, and healing. It's not his fault and it's not your fault. There's nobody to blame, ineffectivegal. :hug:
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.