Why do my feelings change sometimes?

First of all, I’ve been diagnosed with depression since 2006. Off and on, I sometimes doubt my relationship with my boyfriend. It is my first serious relationship, but I know from dating casually what kind of person and what kind of relationship I want. I’m 26; he is 32. We’ve been together for 3 years and for the first two, I was certain he was the love of my life. Things were going great, and then, as usual, a doubt enters my mind, and I can’t stop the spiral. I honestly cannot pinpoint what led to the doubts- the only change was, he was finally ready to start talking about getting married. Some have said that this must be the trigger…he’s finally ready to get married, and I am sad and disinterested because the chase is over. But I feel like its something more…At the beginning of our relationship, he really questioned whether or not he was supposed to be single and celibate (he’s a chaplain and an ordained minister). It was a struggle for us, and as he’s realized that I am the person he wants to spend his life with, he’s more excited about marriage. I’ve always been really certain (since a few months in) that I could see myself with him for life. I admired him so much, but I also became really comfortable with him. We are best friends. I would get desperate about his uncertainty, and our relationship almost ended once because of it. Now, it seems like he’s finally ready and I’m the one not so sure. I don’t know if this is just “normal” cold feet, or if it is exacerbated by my nature to over-analyze and doubt… or if something is really happening, and my feelings are changing (without being affected by my depression).
I’ve shared these feelings with him, and he thinks that it’s normal for the newness and excitement to wear off in a long-term relationship. I’ve become so upset thinking about breaking up with him…that I don’t think I could do it. And, I believe if I did, it could potentially be a huge mistake. I can’t imagine life without him. I can’t imagine finding someone else like him, with the same passions or interests or humor. We’ve built a great life together, and I don’t want it to end.

I just want my feelings back. I wouldn’t be relieved to break up with him, I would feel worse if I did. Its not just him, I can’t imagine feeling romantic toward anyone right now.
At the same time, I’ve pretty much allowed my negative thoughts convince me that I’m not in love with him anymore. He’s still the same person I fell in love with! I was so happy…what could have happened to make me lose my feelings and certainty? He hasn’t done anything to hurt me or change the relationship. Did I just want what I couldn’t have and now I’m losing the fantasy, so I’m no longer interested?
Another aspect of my depression is:
I try to find distractions or things to latch onto in order to stop the spiral when I feel it could start pulling me down. Until 2 months ago, seeing my boyfriend, knowing he was there for me, always made me happy. It was the one thing I could count on to brighten my day. I looked forward to it, and felt like it could save me when I was heading toward a dark week. Maybe I was obsessed with how he made me feel and now that I’m worried about us, I can’t allow myself to just enjoy his company– I sit and worry about why I don’t feel GOOD anymore. I wasn’t able to control my own happiness, I relied on him for it. Now that it doesn’t give me the same feeling of relief, I think maybe I should end it. But, there is no event that should have caused the feelings to change this drastically. Am I just projecting my sadness onto him now? I know that I was in love with him, is it still there? Is it just the depression and spiral confusing my feelings?

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10 thoughts on “Why do my feelings change sometimes?

  1. Maracuya says:

    [The issue here seems to be you aren’t sure if it’s your depression affecting your relationship or you really have lost your feelings for your boyfriend. I think you really do love him but have a combination of your depression and cold feet that add to uncertainty about a life change big enough to make anyone nervous. The way you write about him has a lot of warmth and affection to it.

    How are you treating you depression currently currently and, boyfriend aside, do you feel the way you want to? If you don’t, I would talk to your doctor and update him.

    I think you should concentrate more on yourself in general. The last paragraph jumped out at me. I wasn’t able to control my own happiness, I relied on him for it. Now that it doesn’t give me the same feeling of relief, I think maybe I should end it. Relying on someone else for your happiness is always dangerous and although it feels good in the moment, it leaves you vulnerable. If someone is your everything, then if the relationship ever goes through a rough time or ends, you have nothing. Your love doesn’t need to complete you, they just need to complement you.

  2. resullins says:

    [Ok, I have to echo the above commenters, but I have to say it anyway, because I really do know exactly how you feel.

    Your depression is clouding your judgement severely here. You just don’t seem to care enough to keep your relationship going, and that’s a huge red flag that your depression is out of control. So the first thing you need to do is talk to your boyfriend, tell him that you love him (because it’s obvious you do), and tell him that you have this thing that you’re dealing with, and that you need to work on getting it under control before you guys get engaged.

    Go to a doctor. It sounds like you are deep enough in that you are going to need a combination of drugs and therapy, so it’s going to take a while to find out the right mixture. That’s why it’s important to start as soon as possible. You don’t want your life to pass you by while you’re doped up and rambling.

    Go get help, and then you’ll really know how you feel about the relationship, but I’m going to guess that you just have a case of the 3-year doldrums mixed with cold feet. But as soon as you mix that with emotional and mental issues, you have a severely lethal combination.

  3. Solstice says:

    [This is a complex issue, but what I’m gathering from it is that you do love your boyfriend and want to be with him. It seems like it could be a mixture of cold feet, the newness wearing off, and possibly depression that is causing you to question the relationship. But you admit that breaking it off would be a huge mistake and you can’t imagine life without him. That right there is the most important part, to me. You don’t break up with someone who you can’t imagine life without, or if you can’t imagine finding someone like him who shares your passions and interests. I would say you need to find a way to work through this, at least for the time being. Don’t do anything rash and end things. And it’s clear that he loves you and wants to be with you as well, which is wonderful!

    Seeing a therapist could help you sort through these feelings, although I don’t know if you currently see one, if you have in the past, etc. Maybe it’s good in a way that he doesn’t provide you happiness anymore. As long as you still have happiness in your life, he doesn’t need to be the sole provider of it, of course as long as you’re still happy with him. But you shouldn’t rely on him for it, and perhaps the fact that you no longer do could be a sign that the relationship is simply changing and maturing.

  4. Dennis Hong says:

    [Hi there. I pretty much agreed with everything Solstice said. For what it’s worth, I realized years ago that relationships are hard work, and there will ALWAYS be moments of doubt. Plus, isn’t it possible that your depression is messing with your feelings for him even more?

    Either way, if deep down, you know on a rational level that he’s the one you want to be with, then maybe that’s something you can hold on to during your emotional lows.

    I agree that seeing a therapist might be a good option, though. After all, we’re just an online community. As much as we’re here to help each other out, sometimes a professional working with you one-on-one is the only way to get to the core of your issues. I, for one, wouldn’t presume to know what you’re going through right now, so you’re free to take my comments with a heaping bucketful of salt….

  5. theattack says:

    [I’ll come back and make a more thorough comment later, but I wanted to go ahead and comment that people say that the third year is the hardest, and that’s when this stuff starts to happen. I wouldn’t be too concerned about it, but it’s probably best to put off any big moves until you feel more certain.

  6. Kelly says:

    [I definitely agree with everyone who has said that you seem unsure of the root of your unhappiness and talking to a therapist could really help with that.

    In the mean time, there’s no need to decide right now about marriage to this man until you sort out your feelings. You can be and have been open with him. He wants to spend the rest of his life with you. It sounds like he can be patient while you work on sorting this out.

  7. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [So far I’d have to say I’m on the same page as those who have commented above me.

    First, from what you wrote it is obvious to me that you love your boyfriend very much and I even believe that you do not want things to end with him and that you want to spend the rest of your life with him. Keep reminding yourself of this. Think back to some of the best times you’ve had with him. The times you’ve laughed the most, the times he’s given you the best advice, the times when you’ve looked at him you felt an overwhelming surge of love.

    You said he is your best friend. Though many people say they are dating/marrying their best friend I think it is more rare than we think.

    I really like what Solstice said about it being good he isn’t providing as much happiness to you as before. Sure, others can be responsible for that feeling at times but ultimately we need to be the major source of happiness in our own lives. You need to find your own happiness before you can rely on others to contribute their own to your life.

    Depression aside, it sounds like this may be a transition period for you and the relationship. You’ve been together for three years and things have started to come out regarding the commitment the two of you want to share together. The more serious a relationship gets the more frightening it can be/seem; particularly because the deeper you get the more traumatic the fallout should things fail. I’m not saying they will, or are going to, but unfortunately relationship failure is pushed in our faces all the time causing us to live in fear.

    But the way I see things I’d rather try and fail than never try at all.

    If you do feel uncertain/lost/doubting in your feelings and such you may want to look into seeing a therapist; particularly because of the depression diagnosis as everything could be branching from that. As Dennis said, we are a community here to always help but sometimes a professional can provide insight that even dozens of different mind won’t come to.

    But coming here and asking for help proves that there is a part of you that wants to overcome these doubts and prove that they are merely figments and lies, not the truth. Hopefully we, or others, can help you find what you’re looking for so you can be with the man you seem to so dearly love.

  8. LMcMack says:

    [Well hi! I haven’t been on the site in some time, and wow – there is a lot to catch up on!

    Let me first say that I know that it must be really hard for you to come here with such a deeply personal issue. Even if you are anonymous, it is still nerve wracking to put yourself out there for advice. And I agree that you wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t trying to overcome these obstacles.

    Your confusion is clear in the way you write: “I admired him so much, but I also became really comfortable with him. We are best friends”
    You flip between past and present tense. No, this isn’t a grammar lesson. But I think it’s a small detail that shows how much of a struggle it is for you to figure out your true feelings for this guy. It is your first serious relationship. You say he’s an ordained minister. I feel like this is an indication that he is perhaps a bit more SERIOUS about each aspect of your relationship: sex, marriage, love, etc. I have a few friends in the ministry and each of them seem to be less casual about their relationships than most of my friends. Perhaps this is partly why you feel such pressure to figure out the exact nature of your feelings… that it has to be all or nothing.

    You say you’ve shared these feelings with him, but to what extent? As a minister, he probably finds himself doling out advice on occasion. I can imagine he has a sympathetic nature. He’s right that things do tend to settle down in a relationship at your stage, but what sort of advice did he have for the two of you to actually deal with it? It’s one thing to recognize the problem, and it’s another to figure out how to fix it.

    I really think part of it is that you are simply trying to put too much pressure on yourself to have everything figured out. It’s ok to not know 100% what you want to do with your life, or in your relationship. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you’re not getting treatment for depression yet, that should be the first step. I would think you are, since you mentioned you were “diagnosed” which indicates a doctor’s involvement. It could be something as simple as changing your medication.

    The other thing is that I think you are SO wrapped up in this ONE ISSUE. Relax – take some time for yourself and go out with your girlfriends, talk it out with them. Try to find some other things to focus on for a little while, and let your life sort of balance out.

    I know that none of this is super helpful, but I think you’ve gotten some good advice above. My heart goes out to you in dealing with this important issue in your life, and I know that you can work through it! Think positive! Good luck!

    (And I’d like to see an update on this one in the future)

  9. PKP says:

    [I can’t agree more with the advice posted above, so I’ll just add a bit about depression. I’ve dealt with depression for quite a long time and finally reached a point where I could prevent the spiral (though I still have bad days now and then). First and foremost, get thee to a doctor and talk to them about exactly what you told us. If you’ve already been to a doctor and they prescribed medication, you ought to at least try it. Also, and this was from my doctor too, you should exercise regularly. You might already (which is great if you do) but I found that my key to avoiding spirals was exercising once every two days (nothing severely intense but just something to make me sweat). After a few months of that, I reported back to my doctor that I felt much better. I’m fortunate that such a simple solution worked for me; you should try it too and see if it helps. I guess my point is that you need to work at and try different things to destroy your depression. Treat it like an enemy. It is. It’s almost like a voice actively working against you and deceiving you into believing lies. I know that sounds intense but that’s really what it was like for me.

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