The Grinch

21 Aug

Hi Ruth,

I have bought both of your books. I have developed “grit ” in all areas of my life except one. I can now say “I am a runner ! ”

I have organised paperwork, tidied shelves both real and metaphorically but am in a relationship with a man who is often depressed. I feel as if I’ve just been on holiday with the Grinch. He can be lovely, we have lots of interests in common but is often unwilling to discuss how I feel and sometimes the relationship seems devoid of affection. He has had a difficult past but his depression is dragging me down. My options seem to be to grit my teeth and get on with it knowing that all things pass,

get my life together and maybe this area will follow or……( oh this is where I wimp out at doing anything more dramatic)!!

Do you have any advice? The web-site said all topics are ok !

” Partner to grumpy , depressed man ” /anon

A: We all feel as though we are on holiday with the Grinch at some points!! Men definitely win hands down on the grumpy stakes no question. But, that aside…

Nowhere in your message do you mention how much you love him. Sometimes we get so weighed down by all the bad stuff that we forget to ask ourselves the most basic of questions. Do you still love him? Do you want to share your life with him? Or would you rather be on your own and then, possibly, with a different partner? If the answer to do you still love him is NO, then you know what you must do: leave him.

If, however, the answer is yes, you do love him, then the next question is what action can you take to improve the situation? Is there any way you can get him involved in your running adventures? Nothing cures a grumpy/depressed man better than a good long run! You say he is bad at talking about how YOU feel, but isn’t it more pressing that you get to the bottom of what is bothering him? If he is unwilling to open up, so be it, but at least give him the chance. You may be driving him up the wall!!

Focus less on his inability to discuss your emotions (few men are skilled in this area after all) and more on what you can do to make the relationship work. Devoid of affection you say? Being affectionate is infectious so make the first move – hold his hand, kiss him, stroke his arm, whatever feels natural: little gestures of affection can have a hugely powerful effect.

I’m sure I am oversimplifying what feels like a very complex tricky issue in your relationship but I believe that the only way through is to focus on taking action where you can to help alleviate his grumpiness/depression if – and its a big if – you really do love him and want the relationship to work. Because if his grumpiness/depression is actually an underlying sign that he is very unhappy in the relationship, maybe its time you were honest with eachother and – gritty though it may be – part ways and give yourselves a chance to be happy with other people.

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