Dear Thelma: I feel angry, depressed and helpless to save this relationship

  • Family
  • Sunday, 24 May 2020

I have been dating my girl for nearly four-and-a-half years. We met in a chat group and starting talking to each other before I proposed to her. At that time, I was young and still in university. We have an age gap of three years (she is older) but we have never taken age as a serious factor as we were mature enough.

We are currently at the peak of our relationship and she wants to give up. I have not introduced her to my family as I haven’t established myself in life yet. We agreed to this at the beginning. I have asked for time to become someone and once it’s done, I’ll introduce her to them.Lately, both of us have been in depression.

We have bad anger management and maybe I am worse. I get angry quickly but would apologise once I’m OK. And, yes, I really regret after that. We have not spoken for a month and it’s the world against me.

We work at the same place now, and my co-workers hate me too, thinking I’m hurting her. I have never physically abused her. I have always loved her deep in my heart. She fears me now. All I did was to try and speak and make peace again.

Her family used to love me so much but now they have nothing except hatred. Is the influence against me so big that no one will take the initiative to make things right?

I have started taking depression medication but it’s not helping me.

We have been on a few holidays and she used to pay for me. When I said I’m sorry to be of no help, she says: “It’s OK, the future income of yours is all mine.” That made me a smile as I know it will all be hers. But now she says I’m using her money. This is really hurtful.

Please tell me how to save my relationship. I really love her a lot.

She calls me Motto

You kept your girlfriend of four years a secret from your family and you have anger issues too. So much so that she’s afraid of you.

It doesn’t inspire me with confidence. It sounds as though you’re ashamed of her and you aren’t behaving well, either.

Did she tell you the relationship is over? I notice that you don’t say so explicitly.

If she did not, and you two are just not talking for a month, then I suggest you think very deeply over what you want. If you want this relationship, you will have to be open and honest about it. No more secrecy.

However, if she has broken up with you, and you won’t let go, then the problem is that you refuse to respect her wishes.

Romantic relationships exist only as long as the people in them consent willingly. When one party decides it’s off, that’s the end of it. If you’re lucky, you have enough in common to end up as friends. Alternatively, they may offer to talk and give you some closure before they leave.

I say if you’re lucky, because once one of you walks, the other has no rights. Friendship, closure and other communication are not “owed” to you.

Essentially, when the relationship is over, you go back to being strangers. So, if she said it’s over, then there is nothing to “make right”. You do not have a relationship. Leave her alone.

Either way, you need to work on yourself.

First, you know very well that depression has played no role in this situation. You must take responsibility for your behaviour.

You admit you made the girl afraid of you. Also, you have anger issues.

Set up counselling appointments and take a course in anger management.

Anger doesn’t resolve anything and it might land you in serious trouble. So fix that as soon as you can.

You have been told by her family and your co-workers that you’re behaving badly. They were probably telling you what I told you, that anger and frightening girls is a serious problem. However, it does not mean that they hate you.

Depression often twists perceptions, putting the worst construction on a situation. So I’d let go of the feeling that you’re bad. But, you should hang on to their message: you did not behave appropriately. That is behaviour you do not want to repeat.

My advice is you have some discussions with a therapist about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Keeping a long-term girlfriend a secret is bound to lead to trouble, so why did you do it? And what is behind this need to “be someone”? It sounds very much as though you’re all tangled up with some very unworkable ideas about how relationships work.

As for that medication, generally speaking, antidepressants can take up to six weeks to work. Also, prescribing that is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Some people find they need the dose adjusting. Others need a different type of antidepressant. So if after a few weeks it’s not working, call your doctor.

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