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Dealing with Depression/depressed girlfriend needs space


Hi. I have been working close to someone for over 2 years now & had feelings for her despite her being in a relationship & having a young child. This relationship was mentally & physically abusive & my friend would talk to me about it. Just before her relationship ended we told eachother we had feelings for eachother & started to see eachother. Her relationship ended when he was physically abusive for the last time, she came to me straight away & we helped get her through that situation.  She assures me I'm not a "rebound related" as she deeply loves me.  It was her recognizing her feelings for me & me feeling the same that brought us together, not the end of the previous relationship.

Recently we've found it hard to find time to see eachother while she is off work due to her childcare problems which has put a strain on our relationship.  She has been feeling really low & getting upset as she has had a visit from social services (standard procedure following the domestic violence) & finds it hard being alone following 10 year relationship.

She has had major issues with her family in the past & has also been depressed before where she was on medication & went to see a counsellor for a year or so as she had suicidal thoughts.

During our relationship she constantly told me she loved me, wanted to spend the rest of her life with me, has never been this happy etc. I felt exactly the same.

Recently she has told me she is getting depressed again & having suicidal thoughts. The only reason she hasn't is due to her child. Says adhere can't handle upsetting people & can't handle the break up of previous relationship, dealing with family pulling her all over the place, making decisions for her, our relationship & the upset its caused us recently due to plans constantly collapsing due to lack of child care.  

She says that she needs some space as she just wants to concentrate on her & her child right now.  Can't see a future with anything so wants to take things day by day & seek help. She says she still loves me & wants me in her life but can't do a relationship right now.  I understand this despite how much it hurts me.  We stopped talking for a week recently,as she did with everyone apart from her brothers, so she could only worry about her & her child.  She says although she missed me it was nice to not worry about anyone else for a change.  This hurt me as I've been there for her through the abusive relationship, the break up, the fall out & what's going on now.  I'm really low myself due to what's gone on recently but tried to stay strong for her.

We are still best friends & work closely together so I'm not sure how to act around her now.

I also don't know what to do about the future as I still.see us being together just like we both discussed.  She says she still knows she was sure of that but this depression has made her have doubts over every aspect of her life.

Any help/thoughts would he appreciated.

Thank you

Hi Mike,

If this woman is suffering from abuse, going through a separation, with a child involved, under scrutiny from social services, involved with another man whom she works with and has to see on a daily basis despite wanting some space, who is dealing with love triangulation, and has a history of depression with suicidal ideation, is it no wonder she isolates herself from others? That is a lot to deal with! Feeding into thoughts about all that would certainly depress anyone. Despite all that she needs to get professional guidance if she is feeling suicidal. She is not safe and neither is her child if she is in that frame of mind.

Apart from these various elements I just mentioned, here is a person who begins a relationship with you while she is still in a relationship with the child’s father, who is allegedly abusive to her, but in pursuing your relationship she puts the danger of provocation of cheating on the doorstep of an alleged abusive spouse if he ever finds out, which only serves to increase the danger for her, the child, you, and her spouse... does that sound like someone you would put your trust and faith in? If this is her pattern of dealing with issues, cheating, probably lying as well to hide her indiscretions, what happens after you have invested ten years and she decides to confide in another man at her new work place about the problems between you and her? I am sure you would think differently about her then. You need a clearer perspective about her before you can make an informed decision about any kind of future with such a person.

Concerning the danger element in all this, that may have fed a need for excitement in her life and now that her spouse is gone, she is alone with her child, there may be worries about impending legal battles, custody, child support, and the spectrum of social services hanging over her head, the danger may still persist at a somewhat lower level, but perhaps the excitement is gone from the mix. Perhaps what was once needed for excitement, is now a detriment to her, her child, and their future together? That possibility of lost excitement may account for the parts of change in her behaviours that she is not telling you.

Apart from the danger, that may have excited her, what did it do for you? The help you gave her from the beginning, and which now hurts you to comprehend that it is possibly being overlooked by her, how much of that help was designed to further your own agenda of being with her despite her other relationship? How much of that help could be scrutinized and come up empty of manipulation? Were you not in a position of control to forge the steel into the shape you wanted? Did she not confide in you? It would be too easy to alter outcomes in that position. So, the danger that excited her may very well have corrupted you as well. You begin a relationship, at work, with a spouse of another man, who have a child, does not the question of work ethics and professionalism come into play in your mind? The danger it poses for you concerning your employment is very real. Moreover think of how it makes you appear to your co-workers who may know or even guess at what is going on between you and her.

Her mental instability and need for danger to fuel excitement in her life has affected you more than you realize, or care to know.

You are hurting, having put your love in a place that may go unrewarded. Like any pain, eventually it subsides of it's own accord. Wisdom however does not always come with experience as many tend to repeat the same process expecting different results.

If you are determined to foster this person being in your circle, then give her time. Respect her wishes. The road ahead is not going to be easy. You will need all that you have given so far and then some. Even then there is no guarantee that your relationship will work. Trust and faith will be issues that should concern you if you are to pursue this relationship. Can she be trusted? Safety is another concern. The spouse is going to be in the picture for as long as the child is, and what happens when truth surfaces and he discovers the indiscretions that transpired while he was still with her? There is a very real danger involved in that discovery, especially if he is abusive.

My parting suggestion... Walk in such a way, that when you walk down the street, no one can point a finger at you!  

Dealing with Depression

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Amper Sun


Depression, anxiety, self esteem, guilt, loss, grief, spiritual uncertainty!


Thirty years treating individual, families, at-risk-youth in counselling and psycho-therapy.


Master Practitioner of Counselling and Psychotherapy - M.P.C.P. designation.

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