Partner Not Happy with Himself

Reader’s Question

I have been in a relationship for two years with the a wonderful man I have fallen completely in love with. We have been living together for the last year and were happily moving forward. He came home one night and said he was not happy with himself and needed to get things straight in his head. He said he needed to fix himself before he could fix us. First of all, I had no idea we needed fixing. He asked me not to terminate the relationship because he wanted a future with me, but he wanted to be certain. He said he has no idea what is wrong with him, but it is not with me.

He also told me he will be contacting a therapist to help him through this thing, because he wants a future with me, but at the same time, he does not want to give me false hope.

He was raised by an alcoholic and abusive father and is afraid that he will not make a good husband or father. I told him I would stand by him and help him through this. He has moved out to work on his problems, but we are in contact everyday.

My question is because of his heavy work schedule, he keeps putting off his therapist for his work. I say he has to put himself first sometimes and get help. I am not saying he has to quit work, I just suggested that he needs to make a couple of hours open every week.

Am I wrong to suggest this? I love him deeply, but I also don’t want to wait and he still feels like he can’t commit. Please help.

Psychologist’s Reply

When you mention his heavy work schedule, there’s a good possibility that your partner is depressed. Prolonged exposure to a high stress/responsibility level can produce emotional exhaustion. When this type of depression surfaces, we experience emotional numbness, loss of motivation/interest, need for seclusion, etc. Seeking a therapist is in the right direction. He may also want to review the information on depression available on this website and on my website at

His references to his abusive upbringing are common in this type of depression. When depressed, our brain searches our past memories for information it then uses to torment us.

You are not wrong to suggest that he seek treatment. This condition is unlikely to go away and in fact, may get worse. Depressed folks lose jobs, careers, sweethearts, etc. when this happens. Keep encouraging him to stay emotionally and physically healthy.

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