My partner of 6.5 years and father of our 2 young kids has been struggling for the last few months or more. He has depressive tendancies every now and again but recently they seem to be more often than not. Our entire relationship has had periods of him feeling low but they don’t usually last as long as they have recently.
He is struggling to relax and see the good in his life. He (late 30’s) feels the weight of the world on his shoulders with work, diy and home maintenance, our two young kids, supporting us all, etc. and is quick to lose patience, get irritated, react badly etc; typical stress symptoms. He seeems very unhappy, and has always been rather pessimistic and negative, and can’t see all the good in his life.
I try to help; I talk to him, take things off his list of jobs and do them myself and bring him little gifts I think will cheer him up. Nothing seems to help, and being very reluctant to open up and talk to me, I fear I’m only scratching the surface.
I’m at a point where this is so negatively impacting our relationship that I am disengaging, and not being the supportive partner I should be. For years now, he can put me down with his words, he can be sarcastic and belittling, and very snarky or aggressive (only verbally) towards me. When I tell him that upsets me he says I overreact, and that he can’t relax because I’ll take what he says too seriously. His personality and our relationship can be quite sarcastic and jokey, but I feel like it’s all negative and belittling towards me these days, or short and snappy when I talk to him. The fun, humour and silliness has gone. I honestly feel like he resents me, like he doesn’t like me or respect me or want to be with me. We rarely spend quality time together and he seems very content with this. I feel isolated and unloved.
So I’m trying to support him, but, and please no judgement, my care factor is pretty low. I feel like I should be better, more loving, but I struggle to even give him a hug these days. It’s eating away at our relationship and I feel like it’s close to breaking point. I’ve suggested counselling, both together or individually, I’ve suggested he take time off work to regroup, but he isn’t willing to do either and I don’t know how to help him now. How do I support him when I feel so low too? I’m questioning whether all of this is because of his depression and stress or really just a dysfunctional relationship causing his depression and stress. I’m lost. Any advice?