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Dealing with negative partners
#1
Hey old and new, long time no chat... wondered if you could help?

I'm dating the same guy from 5 years, same place, same situation, more commitment; only lately one thing is really eating me up -

how do you deal with an excessively negative or 'downer' as a partner?

I can't count now the amount of times I've been in a good mood, happy, or productive, and within the space of a 10 minute phonecall or 30 minute online chat I feel frustrated and awful through absorbing his problems and attitudes, often over the most trifling things.

We all have hard times and I am always there to support him, however lately I'm starting to feel more and more like an emotional dumping ground. He can't find work, has little money and no family support, and I understand how that can impact on you. fact is he doesn't open up about what's wrong, blames the world, the system; anything but the fact he wallows in his own self-pity and lethargy. It's really at the point now where I start to think "god, what now..." and hold the phone away from my ear while he passionately rants about a lady who bumped into him or how his bank did something wrong.

I wouldn't mind but it's starting to have an affect on how I view the world and myself, and it's sad that someone I love is actually pushing me away emotionally, perhaps without even meaning to. I give him a lot of love and support, as much as I can give, but it's never enough.

When we are together he is lovely and very sweet. When we're apart he's an absolute nightmare, like he just can't handle his own life or emotions, and normally I'm the one getting texted or asked to chat on MSN.

I'd honestly love it if he just broke down and let it all out, why he acts the way he does, how he's feeling, his worries; but it never comes. Just stoney silence, attitude, and negative smalltalk like I'm some guy he met in an elevator :confused:

all this and he wants us to move in together and get a civil partnership. I imagine the rest of my life like this and it really scares me, always having to accomodate these moods when I feel good or productive. I love him a lot, but all of the above -_-
#2
One sentence for me stands out and that is, "When we are together he is lovely and very sweet. When we're apart he's an absolute nightmare, like he just can't handle his own life or emotions." Perhaps he can't handle life without a supportive partner, there are many people on this earth who need that someone special to understand them. Could it be that you're feeling low at the moment and his negative thoughts are getting to you?? Because five years together is a long time, so may be it's you feeling the pressure. Oh and yes "He can't find work, has little money and no family support," can make a person very negative even if they don't wish to be...? There is nothing like having a sit down with your loved with a nice cup of tea and just talking, talking talking, it helps...
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#3
oh man, this is a really good topic. i'm looking forward to what people say.
before i get anecdotal:

have you considered couples counseling?
if he really is serious about getting closer (ie: moving in together) then it shouldn't be much of a problem for him.
Have you discussed this with him at all? does he blow you off?
maybe just say (in a playful tone):
"Sweetie your harshin' my mellow, do you have to be such a negative Nancy all the time?"
make it a regular thing and maybe he can back out of it if you call him on a negative train early.
if he fights you on it, then therapy may be a necessity...
he needs something to brighten his perspective long-term. my guess is something has darkened his view; it may not be easy to remove.

now the anecdote:
i was your boyfriend. not literally of course. my attitude with my boyfriend was much the same as his is with you.
i ended up destroying the relationship as a result. if i had gotten to a therapist sooner i might not have lost him. it's a regret.

just don't let him bring you down; try and raise him up. i'm sure you have been. get yourselves into couples counciling.
if he fights you on that too, it might be best to cut losses and move on-for your own mental well-being.
might want to let that be known to him if he blows you off at all attempts to ...better the situation.

what do ya think? make sense?
#4
YetAnother Wrote:have you considered couples counseling?
if he really is serious about getting closer (ie: moving in together) then it shouldn't be much of a problem for him.
Have you discussed this with him at all? does he blow you off?
maybe just say (in a playful tone):
"Sweetie your harshin' my mellow, do you have to be such a negative Nancy all the time?"
make it a regular thing and maybe he can back out of it if you call him on a negative train early.
if he fights you on it, then therapy may be a necessity...
he needs something to brighten his perspective long-term. my guess is something has darkened his view; it may not be easy to remove.

now the anecdote:
i was your boyfriend. not literally of course. my attitude with my boyfriend was much the same as his is with you.
i ended up destroying the relationship as a result. if i had gotten to a therapist sooner i might not have lost him. it's a regret.

just don't let him bring you down; try and raise him up. i'm sure you have been. get yourselves into couples counciling.
if he fights you on that too, it might be best to cut losses and move on-for your own mental well-being.
might want to let that be known to him if he blows you off at all attempts to ...better the situation.

what do ya think? make sense?

That all makes perfect sense, it's nice to hear it from another perspective Cool

Couples counselling is kinda hard to get over here and we're both low on money, so it might be the talky talk approach! I'll try discussing it with him but I think he'll just real off a list of reasons for why he gets to act miserable lol... He's kinda like that.

I think the thing that darkened him is mostly financial, he's really struggling to make ends meet and he's too proud to take help or charity, I lent him a little money to move house and tide him over but he needs an income. I keep reminding him I'm here for him in every sense but as a proud person he wants to do everything himself and make it work.

My worst mistake at the minute is creating distance when he gets like this, rather than confronting him about it or discussing it; often I just leave him to it and give space until he's simmered down or cheered up.

At the moment it would be hypothetical until I've talked about these issues with him. He is by no means an ogre and values me very much, so I think he might respond constructively to that.

Many thanks to ya both Confusedmile:
#5
Almac Wrote:There is nothing like having a sit down with your loved with a nice cup of tea and just talking, talking talking, it helps...

yes, there's something to be said for that.

try and discuss it as openly with him as you have with us -when he's in a better mood.
and try the "negative nancy" tactic. barring a complete 180 after that,
you might look seriously into the CC.
some work on a sliding scale -although where you live can be a big factor,
try the government mental health connections in the phone book -but don't mention the gay at first.
a lot of local gay establishments/papers or free weekly papers may have insight that we could not provide here.
meaning that local gay-friendly CC could be found through them.
it's not always super expensive. you won't know for sure until you look.
if nothing else, I wish you both luck.
#6
"When we are together he is lovely and very sweet. When we're apart he's an absolute nightmare, like he just can't handle his own life or emotions, and normally I'm the one getting texted or asked to chat on MSN."

If I had to say anything is that he finds some kind of strength in you and feels safe when he is with you,but he can't find that same strength when he talks to you through texting or chatting on MSN

I'm not sure how long it has been with him out of work, but gagging on what you have said I would say something close to 5 year. I can say that I'm somewhat in his shoes at the moment, because after 2003 I really have not had a good job that I consider my career and have been laid off 3 time sense then and have gotten a degree as well but I also have no family so it makes it even harder for me which I can see in your boyfriend as well. Now What I can say based on the information you have given is that he might be scared to say anything or open up to you in fear that he will say something wrong and you would leave him and he has nothing left.

I know it might be hare to deal with all the negativity but if you can find it within yourself to look past that and turn it around and build him up each time so he has some confidence within himself maybe he will open up more to you about his past and such.

that's my 2 cents or i guess in your case 2 pounds lol
#7
I'm not very backwards in coming forwards so I would deal with a situation like that head on. When something annoys me I find it hard to bite my tongue and would end up just cutting them off mid sentence with a question like 'Do you realise how negative you are.' or 'Do you have to make everyone around you look like fools to make yourself feel better rather than get off your arse and change your situation to make you feel better.'

I do feel for you as I am an optimist and pessimism doesn't wash well with me.

People seem to get themselves in a rut, especially when they find themselves in situations like unemployment, it can be soul sucking....deal with the cause...counselling would be like putting a bandaid on a broken finger....you will know there is a broken finger but it ain't going to fix the broken finger.
#8
Hi Sil,
Sorry you are going through this rough patch.
The one thing that jumped out at me, and set off alarm bells .
The only time he is happy, is when he is in your company , to me that sounds like you have become his emotional crutch.

In other words he is completely dependent on you for happiness.
This is not right , your partner needs professional help.

Misery sure does love company.
Time to put up a protective wall for your own emotional health.

I hope things work out for you both.
We are here for you.
#9
I find it interesting that you two have been a couple for 5 years yet still live in your own places.

"....all this and he wants us to move in together and get a civil partnership."

I take it then that this means you are the one with commitment issues, problems with giving up YOUR flat, YOUR life and taking on OUR House OUR life....

I suspect that his stoney silences and his not addressing the issue(s) directly may be because he feels someone is not 100% totally committed to the us part.

Basically you are just a person on the lift. Seems to me you are merely dating and still courting and not fully 100% committed to a relationship. So how is he to feel 100% comfortable to telling you every/any thing? 5 years to figure out if you are going long term and really want a long term partnership is a very long time.

So add to the list of his 'angst' his uncertainty that the man he loves loves him back 100%.

"He can't find work, has little money and no family support, and I understand how that can impact on you. fact is he doesn't open up about what's wrong,"

Has he ever had family support (emotional or otherwise)? If no, then he most likely does not know how to open up and go about saying what is wrong with others. We are not born with that skill, we learn it through experiences.

Again, 5 years is a long time to be 'undecided' about the relationship. Why should he invest himself emotionally to you if all you are doing is still dating? I bet he has major problems with the calendar ticking off the years and you and he still just dating. He most likely hasn't said much because he is hoping things will change. Then throw in a few losses and suddenly he feels overwhelmed.

Understand that the loss of a job is considered as stressful as the loss of a loved one. http://news.health.com/2009/02/12/job-lo...tress-tag/ goes into depth about that particular stress point. It is not just a loss of work, its a loss of financial freedom, a loss of personal identity, a loss of structure and in the extreme it is a loss of purpose and meaning in life.

That is major loss. Yet you understand?

" ....blames the world, the system; anything but the fact he wallows in his own self-pity and lethargy.""

Self pity and Lethargy or Depression?

I assume you made a professional diagnosis here and ruled out depression....

Something to read on depression: http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-men

Couple that with the loss of a job:

“People might be aware of the stress of job loss, but I don’t think they’re aware of the impact it has on their life,” said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute. “Any loss results in depression and anger. Those are two things that people who’ve lost their job will feel.”

http://news.health.com/2009/02/12/job-lo...tress-tag/


Again I ask, do you really understand where he is? Do you?

I strongly suggest professional help here. Start with couple's counseling. YOU bring it up as a way to see if you two are really ready for the big commitment. I bet he will dance all the way to the therapist's office if he thinks that that is the only reason why you two are going.

In therapy let the other 'stuff' rise to the surface and let the therapist diagnose him.

I suspect you will find (98% certain of this) that he is suffering from depression.
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#10
Bowyn Aerrow Wrote:I find it interesting that you two have been a couple for 5 years yet still live in your own places.

"....all this and he wants us to move in together and get a civil partnership."

I take it then that this means you are the one with commitment issues, problems with giving up YOUR flat, YOUR life and taking on OUR House OUR life....

I suspect that his stoney silences and his not addressing the issue(s) directly may be because he feels someone is not 100% totally committed to the us part.

Basically you are just a person on the lift. Seems to me you are merely dating and still courting and not fully 100% committed to a relationship. So how is he to feel 100% comfortable to telling you every/any thing? 5 years to figure out if you are going long term and really want a long term partnership is a very long time.

So add to the list of his 'angst' his uncertainty that the man he loves loves him back 100%.

Again, 5 years is a long time to be 'undecided' about the relationship. Why should he invest himself emotionally to you if all you are doing is still dating? I bet he has major problems with the calendar ticking off the years and you and he still just dating. He most likely hasn't said much because he is hoping things will change. Then throw in a few losses and suddenly he feels overwhelmed.

Understand that the loss of a job is considered as stressful as the loss of a loved one. http://news.health.com/2009/02/12/job-lo...tress-tag/ goes into depth about that particular stress point. It is not just a loss of work, its a loss of financial freedom, a loss of personal identity, a loss of structure and in the extreme it is a loss of purpose and meaning in life.

That is major loss. Yet you understand?

" ....blames the world, the system; anything but the fact he wallows in his own self-pity and lethargy.""

Self pity and Lethargy or Depression?

I assume you made a professional diagnosis here and ruled out depression....

Something to read on depression: http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-men

Couple that with the loss of a job:

“People might be aware of the stress of job loss, but I don’t think they’re aware of the impact it has on their life,” said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute. “Any loss results in depression and anger. Those are two things that people who’ve lost their job will feel.”

http://news.health.com/2009/02/12/job-lo...tress-tag/


Again I ask, do you really understand where he is? Do you?

I'm sorry but I find this rather assumptive and rude! what a spiteful, arrogant way to read into a situation...

Firstly, If you'd bothered to ask we haven't moved in together because I have a tenancy contract here with my brother for at least another six months, and it is actually my partner who is hesitant about us making the next step after my asking because of a lack of funds to keep us independent and comfortable.

I'm actually pissed off right now that you're suggesting I'm not supportive of and commited to my partner. How would you even know that, truthfully? Ask yourself that. From a message I just typed? you know nothing about me or him.

I hadn't even considered it might be depression Rolleyes so thankyou for your wikipedia diagnosis... In my perfect world I have, oddly, lost jobs and family members myself and had similar emotional issues, to suggest I might be small-minded and selfish enough to consider a depressive disorder as a 'nothing' over my own freedom and happiness is not only patronising but insulting. I know we haven't ever met or chatted, but wow. I seem to have zero credit.

I've been wondering for years how odd it is that we are not living together, and hoping that it changes. Could it be to do with the fact that he's leapt into flatshares with partners before and had very bad experiences? Nope, you didn't bother to ask. Could it be because we'd have to live in a council house in a homophobic squalor neighbourhood, and he doesn't want that? Of course not. I suppose it could be any number of things that you suspected were just my fault, for my own percieved self-righteous happiness. I've done nothing but be there for him and you suggest this is somehow my lack of commitment and understanding? the gall of it is amazing. I suggest you get your facts before you jump in next time. Sorry to everyone else who offered welcome advice here.


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